Lugo frustrated with platoon situation
Shortstop understands situation, makes no excuses for play
BOSTON -- After starting Friday's game against the Rangers at Fenway Park, Julio Lugo was not in the starting lineup Saturday. Instead, Nick Green got the nod.
The two have platooned at shortstop since Lugo returned from the disabled list on April 27 after surgery on March 17 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Lugo's frustration at the situation was obvious prior to Boston's 8-1 win on Saturday. The veteran said his leg is fine, he's satisfied with his range in the field, but not playing every day has been the toughest aspect to deal with.
"I addressed it, but there's nothing I can do, nothing about it," Lugo said before the game. "You know, that's their choice, and whatever the manager puts out there, that's what you have to do, because if they don't put me in there, I can't go take my glove and at 7:05 [p.m. ET] just run to the shortstop. I have to wait until they put me in, and I'm not going to stress it. I'm here to work out and do my best, and when [Red Sox manager Terry Francona] tells me that I can play, I go out there and do it."
In 26 games, Lugo is hitting .256 with one home run and four RBIs. He has four errors.
Francona understands Lugo's frustration.
"The biggest thing we're trying to do and the last thing I'm ever going to do is sit and pick a player's game apart publicly, because it doesn't help us," Francona said. "[The media is] good at it, anyways.
When Lugo isn't in the starting lineup, he works on his fielding with first-base coach Tim Bogar, said Francona, who knows the shortstop isn't happy with his playing time.
"The communication, I don't think is bad, but I don't think he always likes what I tell him," Francona said. "Somebody needs to sit on the bench every day and be available."
Francona, noting it's not "rocket science" determining which shortstop is in the lineup each game, could not say how the shortstop situation will play out.
"I don't know what I envision, to be honest with you," he said. "We're trying to win. We're trying to balance now with down the road. [I'm] not saying I don't respect a media person's opinion. As a media person, you can have an opinion right now. If you're wrong, you can change it next week. Sometimes we need to not just jump at an opinion, and try to see things through."
When Lugo plays, he has become a target of fans' ire for his play in the field. He's heard the boos. He knows what's being said about him.
"It's tough. Nobody wants to be booed. Not me, not anybody," Lugo said. "Sometimes the only person who knows what's going on or why you miss a ball is you, because you're the only one out there. You know what happened.
"It's not fair to anyone, not me or anybody. If you try to make a play like that and you get destroyed by [the media] the next day, it's not fair.
"I mean, you guys can say whatever you want. I can take it. I'm a human being, I got feelings, but I can take it, because you know what, I go out there, I work my [behind] off. I don't care how many errors [I have], I don't care how many strikeouts I've got. I'm not the guy where, if I'm 0-for-20 the next time, I'm going to feel sorry for myself. I go to sleep every day very well because I do my best."
While he's not happy with the current situation, Lugo said he is happy in Boston.
"I love Boston. I love it. There's nowhere else you want to play. I'll tell you the truth, I think fans have been fair to me."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.