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Cleveland Indians

Tribe cuts Dellucci loose

By Sheldon Published: May 29, 2009

   CLEVELAND: The timing of the move was something of a surprise, but it almost was inevitable that David Dellucci would not finish the season with the Indians. ¶
  The 35-year-old outfielder was designated for assignment Friday to make room for lefty reliever Rafael Perez, called up from Columbus. ¶
   ""It was time,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""David is such a pro, but he had some tough times over here. He helped other people get better. But there were other players ahead of him, and he wasn't getting much playing time.'' ¶
   Dellucci appeared in only 14 games, compiling a .275 batting average with three doubles and one RBI in 40 at-bats. ¶
   He got a slow start in spring training after slamming the rear hatch of his SUV on his hand. As much as he struggled when he was healthy, Dellucci too often rode the bench because of one injury or another, not just this year but in 2007. ¶
   ""David was banged up a lot,'' Wedge said. ""Every time he would start to get it going, he'd hit a bump in the road. He didn't have a great deal of good fortune over here.'' ¶
   Dellucci signed a three-year, $11.5 million contract in December of 2006. The plan was for him and Jason Michaels to share left field, with Dellucci, the left-handed portion of the platoon, getting more at-bats because he would be facing right-handed pitchers. ¶
    Michaels upheld his end of the bargain, but Dellucci never could sustain consistency at the plate. In 2007, he batted .230 with four homers and 20 RBI in 178 at-bats, missing much of the season with a hamstring tear. The next year, he batted .238 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 336 at-bats. ¶
   When spring training began this year, it was clear that Dellucci was barely in Wedge's plans as the fourth outfielder. When Dellucci came off the disabled list on May 1, in the middle of the team's deep slump, he said his primary goal was turn pessimism to optimism in the clubhouse. ¶
   He knew by that time that he would not see much of the field, with Wedge already using Ben Francisco, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, Shin-Soo Choo and later Matt LaPorta at his position. Dellucci started only one game in left. ¶
   The Tribe still owes Dellucci about $2.75 million of his $4 milliion salary. If he is traded before the 10-day period specified when a player is designated for assignment, the Indians likely will have to pay most of or all the money to Dellucci's new team. ¶
   BULKED UP PEN - Rafael Perez rejoined the Indians Friday after spending three weeks in Columbus making corrections to his mechanics and regaining his confidence. ¶
   ""We've really taxed our bullpen lately,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""They've been pitching four or five innings a night. We needed another arm down there, and Rafael accomplished what he needed to do.'' ¶
   Perez and Jensen Lewis started the season as co-setup men in what Tribe operatives felt was a lockdown bullpen. Instead, both pitchers struggled. In 13 appearances, Perez posted a 15.19 earned-run average with opposing hitters batting .422 against him. ¶
   In seven games at Triple-A, Perez did not allow a run in nine innings, giving up nine hits and three walks. He struck out nine and had a .257 batting average against. ¶
   ""He needed to pitch,'' Wedge said.  ""The way he was going, we couldn't leave him out there to pitch a couple innings, 30-35 pitches.'' ¶
   HOW LONG? -- For the second time this season, the Tribe has an eight-man bullpen, but for how long? ¶
   ""We'll run through the weekend with it,'' Wedge said. ""Then we'll see.'' ¶
   REYES UPDATE -- Anthony Reyes (sore elbow) has yet to make his scheduled trip to Southern California to see Dr. Lewis Yocum, but that will happen next week .¶
   ""He probably will need surgery,'' Wedge said. If he does, Yocum will perform the operation before Reyes returns to Cleveland. ¶
   GUEST BP SWINGER -- Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards took batting practice with the Indians Friday and hit one ball over the wall in left. ¶
   ""I played baseball in high school, when I was 16,'' Edwards said. ""It was all football after that.'' ¶
   One reporter joked about Edwards becoming a two-sport start, like Bo Jackson. ¶
   To that, Edwards said, ""I might have to talk to (head coach) Eric Mangini. Maybe I should do this more often. Actually, I didn't want to get in anybody's way.'' ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Travis Hafner doubled in three at-bats in Columbus' 6-4 win over Charlotte. Michael Brantley hit his second home run of the year and drove in two runs. *elip Abner Abreu had two hits and one RBI in Lake County's 4-1 win over Greensboro. Karexon Sanchez singled and had two RBI. ¶

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