TORONTO: David Dellucci doesn't understand it, and he doesn't think it was right.
Until he was released by the Indians on June 1, he was a constant target of the fans, though it remains unclear why he became the whipping boy for the sporting public of Northeast Ohio.
"I'm disappointed at the treatment I received from the fans,'' Dellucci, now an extra outfielder with the Blue Jays, said Tuesday. ""I thought that was uncalled for.
"It was disheartening, when I was doing everything I could. I tore my hamstring all the way off the bone running out a ground ball and got ridiculed. But the guys in the clubhouse knew I was trying as hard as I could, and that's what counts.''
Maybe the fans resented Dellucci's three-year, $11.5 million contract to be a platoon outfielder. Or maybe it was the fact that injuries often forced him off the field somehow rubbed the fans the wrong way.
Dellucci was signed to be an offensive presence, but he could never quite pull that off. In his first year with the Tribe, 2007, he batted .230 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 178 at-bats, missing more than two-thirds of the season with the aforementioned hamstring injury.
In 2008, Dellucci batted only .238, but he hit 11 home runs and had 47 RBI in 336 at-bats in left field and at designated hitter, filling in for Travis Hafner, who was sidelined with a shoulder ailment.
This year Dellucci came to camp strictly as a No. 4 outfielder. Playing only 14 games, he batted .275 with one RBI and was released four days before Hafner came off the disabled list.
"I kind of saw it coming,'' Dellucci said. "I was anticipating that it would happen. I've been around the game awhile, and I understand the game. When your DH is coming off the DL, you know that somebody has to go.
"So there were no hard feeliings. I made some extremely close friends on the coaching staff and among the players. There was nothing negative.''
Dellucci has no regrets about his time in Cleveland, despite his problems on the field.
"I wish I had put up better numbers,'' he said. "But I never have regrets. I worked my tail off, and I worked hard away from the field. You can't control your batting average and your home runs. but you can control your work ethic.''
Dellucci was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 3, and is 1-for-23 in seven games.
"I'm still getting settled in here,'' he said. "But everyone in the clubhouse has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable.''
MAJOR LEAGUE SLUMP -- What will it take to shake catcher Victor Martinez out of a slump that has seen him bat .182 in his past 48 games?
"I feel like he's starting to come back,'' manager Eric Wedge said Tuesday. "He's swinging a little better. He's had some tough luck, made some hard outs.''
What caused Martinez to virtually drop off the face of the earth after batting .400 going into interleague play in May?
"He really had to work hard when Grady (Sizemore) and Travis (Hafner) were out of the lineup in the first half,'' Wedge speculated. ""So we have to give him some days off.''
The sad state of the team might have affected Martinez, who does not take losses lightly.
"He takes it personally,'' Wedge said. ""It probably means more to him than anyone. But it's like cold weather. You can't let it get inside of you."
Have trade rumors swirling around Martinez affected his concentration?
"The only thing I can talk about is the group as a whole,'' Wedge said. ""Everyone has to block that stuff out. Trade rumors are part of the game. You can be traded even from a good team that is trying to strengthen a particular area of the club. ''
UNCERTAIN ROTATION -- Can the Indians get along with four starters for most of the season, and is that desirable?
"I want the four best starters or the five best starters,'' said Wedge, meaning that if he only has four reliable pitchers, he will go with them most of the time. ""If we didn't need five (four might work), but we're going to need the fifth guy.''
But not all the time.
"I can manipulate it a little bit,'' Wedge said, referring to the seven off days left on the schedule.
WHO KNEW? -- Wedge said all along the to-be-determined starter for Thursday's game against Toronto was David Huff.
"I don't know why it wasn't announced,'' he said. ""I'm still working on Saturday, though.''
It would appear the only candidates to start Saturday's game in Seattle are Jeremy Sowers and Toma Ohka.
Wedge said it would not be Fausto Carmona, still working to regain his edge in Columbus.
FARM FACTS -- Matt LaPorta had two hits, icnluding a double, and drove in two runs, as Columbus beat Scranton Wilkes-Barre 8-1. Andy Marte hit his fourth home run in the past five games and his 15th of the season... Donnie Webb had four hits, and Nate Recknagel homered, doubled and singled in Lake County's 5-4 win over Greenville.