BOSTON -- One night after tending to a situation involving his wife that manager Terry Francona called "pretty serious," Julio Lugo returned to Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon.

The shortstop was not in the starting lineup for the series opener against the Royals, which the Red Sox lost, 8-6, but Francona said before the game that Lugo would be available off the bench.

"[The situation] is not less serious today," Francona said, "but he needed to be with his wife last night."

Lugo is the second Boston player to miss a game this week because of a family matter, as second baseman Dustin Pedroia did not play on Monday against Oakland. Pedroia's wife, Kelli, is pregnant, and was taken to an area hospital after going into labor earlier than expected.