"I've been a starter, a utility player, a pinch-hitter. I've done all of them," Dellucci said. "Last year and the year before I got the chance and did what I wanted to do. That was the most important thing."
"I might not play as much for this team, but now I know people saw that I can play and put up numbers. I feel at peace with that. I'm not a player who will sit on the bench and mope. I'm not that type of guy."
Just down the bench from Dellucci sits David Bell.
Bell wasn't in the starting lineup for the opener, as chilly weather and a tough right-hander (Chris Carpenter) on the mound worked against him. Abraham Nunez started at third base, batted second and went 1-for-5. Manager Charlie Manuel insisted that Bell will get an opportunity to reclaim the everyday job. "Third base is his job to lose," Manuel said of Bell. "We'll go day by day. He needs to get (physically) right and then I'll let him loose."
For his part, Bell believes that he is healthy and ready to go. While the Phillies can talk about the damp, chilly weather and its possible effects on Bell's achy bones, the bottom line is that there is a change in the air. Call it a fresh point of view or simply the usual progression of an aging player whose time is running down, but things are changing for Bell.
Pat Gillick's arrival in Philadelphia has brought about change. Having a player like Bell see decreased playing time doesn't reflect on his record, since he wasn't the guy who brought Bell to town. Instead, Nunez, who Gillick brought to town, looks to gain from Bell's reduced role.
While Dellucci responded admirably to increased playing time in Texas and hit a career-high 29 homeruns last season, Bell struggled horribly against right-handers. The various injuries that have plagued him haven't helped either and all of the forces have combined to have Bell in a position where he'll see less time on the field.
There is something to be said for being able to bring Dellucci and Bell off the bench late in the game. Dellucci, a left-handed hitter, would be a tough out for a lot of right-handers. And even though Bell struggled against righties, there is no denying how strong he looked against left-handers. The combination of the two veterans gives the Phillies a potential one-two punch for late in the game.
As both players look to find comfort in their new role, the Phillies hope that success - both for the team and for the two individuals - will help to smooth any rough edges around the transition.