Life as a DH
OK, you are the designated hitter. You get to bat in a game, your pitcher doesn’t. For nine straight games starting Friday, the Phillies will be playing interleague games in American League cities meaning the DH will be used.
What do you do between at-bats?
Watch the World Cup?
Gulp down a hot dog?
Polish your baseball spikes?
Read the newspaper?
Listen to “The Sound of Music”?
Comfort your fielder’s glove you won’t be using, reassuring it you still love it?
For real answers, let’s check in with someone who has been there, Phillies outfielder David Dellucci.
Dellucci, playing for the Texas Rangers a year ago, ranked 11th among AL DHs with a .266 average. He hit 14 homers and drove in 27 runs in 67 games.
“Go to the batting cage and get in some extra swings, ride a stationary bike to stay loose, check out video of your last at-bat or the pitcher you are facing, or sit on the bench and watch the pitcher,” said Dellucci, pulling on his red stirrups before batting practice this evening.
“I guess I’ve tried them all. Sitting on the bench can be trying. I found I needed to get my mind off my last at-bat. I tried hitting in the cage, taking 200 swings. But that wore me out,” he continued.
“To me, the big thing is not looking back at your last at-bat or getting too anxious for your next one. It’s a mind game.”
Dellucci gives an insider’s look at the three ballparks the Phillies will be playing in over the next nine games:
Fenway Park, Boston: “Clubhouse is very small. No real place to swing a bat or to stay loose. The benches are small so you can’t really go there and get away from your teammates. Everyone is cramped.”
Camden Yards, Baltimore: “Big clubhouse. Plenty of space to swing a bat, stretch or run. Benches are very spacious.”
Rogers Centre, Toronto: “Hitting cage near the dugout with a batting tee. Spacious dugouts.”
Being a left-handed hitter, Dellucci will probably be penciled in the Phillies lineup by Charlie Manuel often. The three teams the Phillies are facing, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays, aren’t loaded with left-handed starting pitchers.
“I’ll be ready. Been there, done that.”