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Dellucci reflects on tough time with Tribe

Dellucci reflects on tough time

TORONTO -- Disappointment was the trademark of the David Dellucci era in Cleveland.

Indians fans were disappointed with the performance of Dellucci over the past three seasons, and Dellucci was disappointed with the treatment he received from those fans.

Dellucci, newly promoted to the Blue Jays team that signed him to a Minor League deal shortly after the Indians released him in May, voiced that disappointment before the opener of a three-game set against his former club at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.

"It tears you up," Dellucci said, "when you get ridiculed and you did the best you can."

Dellucci's best wasn't good enough for a Tribe team that signed him to a three-year, $11.5 million contract before the 2007 season. The contract itself was a rare commitment to a guy brought in to be a platoon outfielder, and Dellucci, therefore, was under immediate scrutiny.

In his time with Cleveland, Dellucci hit just .238 (132-for-554) with 15 homers, 68 RBIs and a .699 OPS in 183 games. He missed the better part of the '07 season after tearing his hamstring while trying to beat out a double-play relay at first, and he never got on track at the plate in '08.

This year, Dellucci reported to Spring Training camp with a thumb injury suffered when the thumb got caught in the tailgate of his truck (though he fooled a few reporters when he told them the injury was the result of an alligator bite suffered when he saved a young boy from the clutches of the animal). He then strained his calf muscle just before camp broke and spent the first month on the DL. Relegated mainly to designated-hitter duties in place of an injured Travis Hafner, Dellucci appeared in just 14 games before the Indians cut him loose.

"I saw it coming," Dellucci said of the move. "I was anticipating that it was going to happen. I've been around the game a while and can read between the lines. When you're DH'ing, and the DH is coming off the DL, it's a good sign that something's going to happen. No hard feelings. I'm very appreciative of my time there. I made some extremely close friends on the coaching staff and the player-side."

He didn't make as many friends among the fan base.

"I was a little disappointed with the way the fans treated me," Dellucci said. "I thought it was uncalled for, because I tried my best. I tried to beat a double play and tore my hamstring off the bone. The guys in the clubhouse know I gave my all."

The 35-year-old Dellucci has a fresh start with the Jays, but it's clear his career's best days are in the rearview mirror. Toronto, desperately in search for some left-handed pop, purchased his contract from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this month. Dellucci entered Tuesday having notched just one hit in 23 at-bats for the Jays, and he hasn't been in the lineup since fouling a pitch off his foot Friday.

Dellucci said he has no regrets about his time in Cleveland.

"I wish I could have put up better numbers," he said. "But I don't have any regrets. I played my tail off. I can't control the batting averages and all that stuff, but I can control how I approach the game and how I treat people."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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