Lugo keeping professional attitude
Shortstop not making waves despite more time on bench
WASHINGTON -- During the six-game homestand the Red Sox just completed, Julio Lugo never once got off the bench. Nick Green again started at short in Tuesday night's opener against the Nationals, meaning it has now been 11 days since Lugo's last start.
Though the veteran is not accustomed to coming off the bench, he has decided not to make waves about it, because he doesn't see what good it would do.
"I'm just going to stay ready," said Lugo. "I just keep my mouth shut and do what I'm asked. I haven't adjusted yet."
However, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has taken note of the way Lugo has handled a difficult situation.
"He's swinging the bat, staying real sharp -- he's been hitting in the cage," said Francona. "I'll go down sometimes in between innings and he'll be in there hitting. I guess if I say 'appreciated,' that's probably not the right word, but he's not pouting. He's doing his best to stay ready, and it's obvious, because when he comes into the game, he gets hits."
Lugo was in a full-fledged competition with Jed Lowrie for the starting job in Spring Training, only to undergo right knee surgery in March. Lowrie went down with a left wrist injury shortly thereafter, giving Green the chance to seize the shortstop position.
Green, who had defensive struggles earlier in the season, has excelled in the field and at the plate of late. He belted a walk-off homer in Sunday's win over the Braves.
When Lowrie, who underwent left wrist surgery in April, is activated in the next couple of weeks, someone is going to lose a roster spot.
Though Lugo's four-year, $36 million contract doesn't expire until the end of the 2010 season, he could still be the one to go.
Is he curious to see how it plays out?
"Yeah, but I don't worry about those things," said Lugo, who is hitting .300 with a homer and seven RBIs. "Those are things I can't control."
When Lugo came off the disabled list on April 27, it appeared he would be the primary starter at shortstop, at least until Lowrie returned. But Lugo's range was limited and Green thrived, leading to the switch.
Lugo doesn't think the knee is limiting him any more in the field.
"I'm fine. I'm healthy. I'm 100 percent. They know what I've got," Lugo said.
In the meantime, he will continue to bite his tongue.
"It's not going to do me any good to come in and talk," Lugo said. "That won't make things any better."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.