© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
05/12/07 4:09 PM ET
Notes: For Dellucci, no place like home
Wedge shakes up the lineup; late-inning setup work suffering
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The St. Michael the Archangel figurine David Dellucci keeps in his locker for good luck hasn't made either of the Indians' past two road trips. "One of his arms broke off," Dellucci sadly reported. "But we have a pretty good training staff. They were able to glue it back on." Alas, Dellucci, whose middle name is Michael, does not feel he has adequate means to transport the object without the threat of it losing another limb. So, St. Michael is sitting in the Indians' clubhouse at Jacobs Field. All of this might serve to explain why Dellucci is batting .316 (12-for-38) at home this season, versus his dismal .204 (10-for-49) mark on the road. Or, more likely, Dellucci is still trying to find a consistent groove at the plate. "I don't think it's anything mechanical or physical," he said. "It's all mental. I'm seeing the ball, but I'm trying to get eight hits in one swing. It's frustrating." Dellucci, who didn't start Saturday's game against A's left-hander Dallas Braden, said he feels he's put added pressure to perform on himself because he's joined a new team, and manager Eric Wedge agreed. "Sometimes that sense of urgency works against you," Wedge said. "He's a proven big-league hitter. He needs to trust that and try not to get all the way back with one at-bat." The left-field platoon of Dellucci and Jason Michaels hasn't produced anywhere near what the Indians would like to see. Combined, they are batting .245 (36-for-147) with a pair of home runs and only 11 RBIs. Dellucci has driven in just three runs in 87 at-bats this season, and he's mired in a particularly rough 5-for-26 (.192) skid. But you don't have to tell him. "I've always been my own harshest critic," he said. "I'm not happy with my performance. The most difficult aspect of hitting is seeing the ball, and I'm seeing it fine. But instead of relaxing, I'm putting too much pressure on myself." Lineup shakeup: Wedge said after Friday's game that it's probably time for him to retool his lineup, given the fact that his offense hit just .214 (21-for-98) and was outscored 19-4 over the course of three straight losses. Wedge delivered Saturday morning. For starters, he gave the slumping Travis Hafner (nine hits in his last 56 at-bats) a rare day off from his designated hitter duties. "We want to get him away from it for a little bit," Wedge said. "Everybody needs a break now and again. This should help him get away from it mentally." The hot-hitting Victor Martinez moved up to Hafner's No. 3 spot, and Ryan Garko, coming off a 3-for-4 night, was given the cleanup duties. Additionally, Jhonny Peralta batted fifth, Trot Nixon (who subbed in as the DH) sixth and Casey Blake seventh in a tweak to that section of the lineup. Franklin Gutierrez made his first start of the season, playing right field and batting ninth. Here's the question ... Heading into the 2007 season, which former Indians player had the highest career percentage for stolen bases: Aaron Boone, Roberto Alomar, Dave Roberts, Marquis Grissom or Joe Carter? Spotty setup work: The Indians' setup situation has been a work in progress all season, and a good deal of that has to do with the inconsistencies shown by Roberto Hernandez in the early going. Hernandez has been dominant at times, but he's allowed eight runs (five earned) on 12 hits over his last 11 innings of work. His velocity remains intact, even at the age of 42. "Obviously, he's strong," Wedge said. "The ball is coming out of his hand well. He's just been a little on and off. But he's a veteran guy. He's been used in every role there is to be used in." On the whole, Wedge said he's not concerned about his eighth-inning relief situation, in which Hernandez and Rafael Betancourt have had their ups and downs and Fernando Cabrera has struggled. "We have multiple people we feel we can use in that role," Wedge said. "If we get on track offensively, that will loosen a lot of other things up. Our guys know that." Tribe tidbits: The Indians entered Saturday with a 19-4 record in games in which they score four or more runs and a 1-9 record in games in which they score three or fewer. ... Dellucci, Garko, Martinez, Michaels, Peralta, Kelly Shoppach, Grady Sizemore and Josh Barfield are scheduled to use pink Louisville Slugger bats during some of their at-bats in Sunday's game as part of MLB's commemoration of Mother's Day and effort to raise breast cancer awareness. Down on the farm: It was a rough night for the Triple-A Buffalo pitching staff in Friday night's 13-2 loss to Rochester. Starter Jason Stanford gave up six runs on 11 hits in five innings; Matt Miller, recently activated from the 15-day DL, gave up three runs on two hits in an inning of work and Nick Pesco allowed four runs on seven hits in two innings. ... Left-hander Scott Lewis gave up three runs on seven hits in four innings, and Double-A Akron went on to a 12-1 loss to Erie. ... Center fielder John Drennen hit two homers in Class A Kinston's 7-5 win over Potomac. First baseman Stephen Head and right fielder Nathan Panther also went deep. ... Right-hander Steven Wright gave up just three hits and a walk while striking out seven in five shutout innings in Class A Lake County's 3-1 win over Lexington. And the answer is ... With a stolen-base percentage of 80.6, Alomar had the highest percentage among former Indians. Alomar's total for stolen bases was just ahead of Roberts' percentage of 80.5. Roberts, however, continues to play in the Majors. On deck: The Indians and A's wrap up their weekend set with Sunday's 4:05 p.m. ET game at McAfee Coliseum. Left-hander Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will oppose right-hander Chad Gaudin (2-1, 2.40 ERA).
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.