Braves call on Lugo for veteran presence at shortstop

The Braves called up shortstop Julio Lugo from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, looking for more of a veteran presence to back up Alex Gonzalez at shortstop.

The move, which sent Diory Hernandez back to Gwinnett, didn’t have anything to do with the bunt sign Hernandez failed to pick up during a seventh inning at-bat Monday night. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he wanted a more experienced player at shortstop to give Gonzalez some time off.

“Some of the guys we’ve been trying are younger players,” said Gonzalez, referring to Hernandez and Brandon Hicks. “I think that role fits more of a veteran guy, a guy who has played shortstop at the big league level and been successful at the major league level.”

Lugo, 35, has played 11 major league seasons for four teams, beginning with the Houston Astros. He’s a career .270 hitter. He hasn’t had an every day job since 2007 with the Red Sox. He hit .240 with 20 RBIs in 93 games last season for Baltimore.

The Venezuela native went unsigned over the winter. Lugo had been working out at the Arizona Diamondbacks Academy in the Dominican Republic when the Braves signed him to a minor league contract on May 23. He went to extended spring training in Orlando, then hit .231 (12-for-52) in 13 games for Gwinnett, with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.

“I’m in good physical shape, I just needed to be in game shape,” Lugo said. “I just needed to see some pitching. My legs feel good, my mind feels good. I think I’m ready.”

Lugo said his contract did not stipulate a deadline for a major league call-up.

“They just told me that if I go down there and they like what they see I’m going to get a shot,” Lugo said. “And that’s all I asked for, for them to give me a shot.”

While Lugo wasn’t tearing it up in Gwinnett offensively, Gonzalez said it’s not his bat they’re interested in as much as his glove.

“That’s not the reason we got him,” said Gonzalez after mentioning Lugo’s .270 career average. “The reason (is to) maybe give Gonzo a spell at shortstop. Talking to our minor league people, they say he may not have the range he had five years ago but if he catches it, you’re out. He’s a pretty steady ballplayer.”

Alex Gonzalez has started every game but three this season and has had one day off during this stretch of 16 consecutive games for the Braves. Gonzalez was considering making that two days off before the stretch reaches 16 straight on Wednesday. He’s thinking about giving Lugo his first start on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale against Toronto and giving Gonzalez back-to-back days of rest with Thursday’s off day.

Hernandez was hitting .212 (7-for-33) with four RBIs, three of which came on a pinch hit home run June 5 in New York.

56 comments Add your comment

Jose

June 21st, 2011
6:37 pm

Good move. Give Alex a few days off.

BOOBALEE

June 21st, 2011
6:40 pm

couldnt be worse i suppose. i do prefer vets for backups

jason

June 21st, 2011
6:41 pm

jason

June 21st, 2011
6:41 pm

aw im 3 :’(

JoshTown

June 21st, 2011
6:47 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a go!)

June 21st, 2011
6:49 pm

Julio Lugo????

What, are the Braves freaking broke or something!!

Yo Frank, bring back Omar Unfante. He’s the answer to our bench needs.

urban redneck

June 21st, 2011
6:57 pm

broke, no. cheap, definitely……………but i’m still watching.

go braves!!

Chpatt

June 21st, 2011
6:58 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a go!)
June 21st, 2011
6:49 pm

Julio Lugo????

What, are the Braves freaking broke or something!!

Yo Frank, bring back Omar Unfante. He’s the answer to our bench needs.

________________________________________________________________________

You trolls should remain off this blog. Good luck trading for a player you just traded 6 months ago, you dunce.

Mr. Enigma

June 21st, 2011
6:59 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a go!) is obviously someone who doesn’t understand how baseball transactions work.

bruce

June 21st, 2011
7:04 pm

pretty strong negative editorial on Hicks & Hernandez

phil

June 21st, 2011
7:08 pm

Lugo can’t be worse than the ousted bums before him!

fred

June 21st, 2011
7:18 pm

Good move from team with no money….boy, it really give Hicks and Diory something to look forward to. Its funny how Braves keep finding re-runs from junk pile to sign. The list just keeps going, cut Mather call up Lugo.

kirkinga

June 21st, 2011
7:48 pm

It’s sad when the Braves use the services of a guy who slammed his wife’s face into the hood of their car after a heated argument on the way to a game against the Braves. Have we forgooten about that incident?

None of this would have been necessary if they had stuck it out with Escobar. With Escobar, you can afford to have a 4-A players as back-up because, chances are, he’s going to play more than an older guy.

daniel buck

June 21st, 2011
8:00 pm

Dave if we get someone do we have a better chance at someone like Pence or Crisp??

FACTS

June 21st, 2011
8:05 pm

@Kirkinga

The reports out Houston all state that she hit her head on the truck door after a tussle with Julio 05/01/03…I think that if he slammed her head he would have went to a Texas prison & not get any type shot to play again.

kirkinga

June 21st, 2011
9:15 pm

@FACTS, you are incorrect as to what happened and to how much time,if any, domestic abusers receive, especially celebrity ones. Just ask Rihanna and Chris Brown about how that works..

Anyhow, Lugo cop to the plea. He beat his wife. You can call it “a tussle” if you’d like, but many millions of men are able to argue with their wives/girlfriends without the females requiring medical attention afterwards.

The Astros investigated and their conclusion was that their organization’s had no place for “tusslers”.

kirkinga

June 21st, 2011
9:25 pm

Sorry, she retracted her statement he didn’t plead out. But those bruises didn’t just come from
“tussling”. The Astros didn’t believe her, but she didn’t press the case.

That said, you might want to read up on domestic abuse because you apparently are operating under the belief that abusers go to jail, and for long periods of time.

sean

June 21st, 2011
11:40 pm

when is pastornicki(spelling?) coming up?

LuisG

June 21st, 2011
11:43 pm

Julio Lugo is from the Dominican Republic =)

mistermak

June 22nd, 2011
12:36 am

I think we need a 2nd baseman to give Uggly a long break! there has got to be a better option at Gwinnet!

carney johnson

June 22nd, 2011
12:57 am

i understand the lugo move, and it may be a good one, but diory hernandez looks like he’s eventually gonna be a solid player.

Teddy G

June 22nd, 2011
1:03 am

At what point do you send Uggla down to AAA or sit him on the bench? Most of our pitchers have a better batting average. His slump is nearly half the year at this point.

slidezzt

June 22nd, 2011
1:13 am

Chpatt
June 21st, 2011
6:58 pm

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a go!)
June 21st, 2011
6:49 pm

Julio Lugo????

What, are the Braves freaking broke or something!!

Yo Frank, bring back Omar Unfante. He’s the answer to our bench needs.

________________________________________________________________________

You trolls should remain off this blog. Good luck trading for a player you just traded 6 months ago, you dunce.

Well said, Chpatt they just don’t get it and never will. Trolls just being Trolls Wish they would go back to the Mutts blog where they belong

wayn-o

June 22nd, 2011
1:40 am

Maybe here soon, Uggla will have some sort of injury. Why not everyone else on the team has except for him? Get well Prado we need you back on the infield at 3B or 2nd, Lugo can which ever your not.

Boatdoc

June 22nd, 2011
3:40 am

The Braves could use Prado practically everywhere – but it brings up a really good question: if he returns, and the Braves are looking pretty solid in the OF (McLouth, Schafer and Heyward aren’t in the slumps that Uggla is in…) do the Braves put Martin at the position where he was an All-Star just last year and give Uggla a little pine time, or some Triple-A swings?

old timer

June 22nd, 2011
4:18 am

Unfortunatley the .240 average that got him run out of Baltimore is pretty high right now on this team.

vermont 39

June 22nd, 2011
6:50 am

If Julio is ready…we lose nothing at SS. He can catch it and throw it…he also can get hot…pretty much a clone of GONZO…GO BRAVES

bill

June 22nd, 2011
7:34 am

lugo is a non story on a non story day. We play this afternoon and that is a great way to pass an afternoon listening to baseball. Baseball was made for readio and TV has only gotten in the way of a great game. Do you suppose Skip and Red Barber are doing games together in Heaven?

Zane Smith's Teeth

June 22nd, 2011
7:37 am

Did anyone else find it interesting that the Braves announcers were calling out Uggla last night? Brian Jordan even showed a birds-eye view of Uggla swinging that showed him pulling his head to the left trying to pull every pitch. His exact quote “It’s the 75th game, time to try something different”. In over 20 years of watching the Braves telecasts, I can’t remember a player being called out like that. Why in the heck is management not doing the same???

Let's Go

June 22nd, 2011
8:02 am

I think the 2 error game the other night against Texas was Diory Hernandez final act. If and when the Braves do make a trade look for him to be part of it because this is like the 3rd year now he has gone back and forth between the big leagues and AAA and I don’t see him in the Braves long range plans. Tyler Pastornicky is still at AA but he probably is next in line but this could be a position the Braves look at filling via free agency next season if they don’t resign Alex Gonzalez to a 1 or 2 year deal.

Maddog

June 22nd, 2011
8:03 am

Hey Freddi, I don’t know if you skipped Baseball 101, but if ANYONE catches the ball, the batter is out!

We’ve had good luck with geriatric Julio’s, so I won’t comment on the move.

Maddog

June 22nd, 2011
8:05 am

Speaking of player moves, what about that big young shortstop Salcedo? He may be too big to play SS … but when they got him I figured he’d be the one to replace whiny Escobar eventually.

Let's Go

June 22nd, 2011
8:21 am

I’m close but not at the end of my rope on Dan Uggla yet but I do think it’s the time for the Braves to show a little tough love toward him. You got until the All Star Break to figure it out up here or you are going down to AAA to figure it out. The Braves did it last year to McLouth, Kawakami and Glaus so he’s got to know they will do it. The only problem is by doing this you send a message that the team doesn’t screw around but since it is an embarrassment to the veterans the Braves could find it difficult to sign decent free agents in the future since you got to know agents are going to bring this up to the players when they discuss deals.

The sad truth is within the Braves Minor League System there just are not too many position players (esp infielders) that are major league ready right now. The Braves have drafted pitching, pitching, & pitching and are loaded but now that Freddi & Jason are in the big leagues the cupboard is bare at AAA & AA.

John Mayberry

June 22nd, 2011
8:34 am

Willie Wilson could outrun anyone on this team, BTW.

I love it how Fredi says it’s not because Diory missed the squeeze sign the other night. We all know that’s not true. It’s Newton’s law in practice on the field: for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Diory’s been grounded. He’ll be back eventually…but I bet he won’t miss a sign for awhile.

Lost Cause

June 22nd, 2011
8:39 am

Guys, I think you are looking at the lineup your going to get the rest of the season once Prado comes back. If I were coach the rest of the season I would use Prado as super sub to give everyone days of each week. Play Prado at 3B, 2B, 1B, and LF 4-5 games a week and give everyone a day off each week (Chipper 2 days off). But I am not coach for the week. I kinda like Schafer and McClouth both in the lineup.

Go Braves

brave face

June 22nd, 2011
8:56 am

bring Omar back from the Florida Gulag!

ghost_brave

June 22nd, 2011
9:43 am

So once Prado comes back, this is what our lineup should look like:

Schafer CF
Prado LF
Chipper 3B
McCann C
Uggla 2B
Heyward RF
Freeman 1B
Gonzalez SS
P

With McClouth and Hinske on the bench, I think we have a pretty deadly offense. Not to mention our pitching…

We_Run_This_Country

June 22nd, 2011
9:44 am

Let’s try this one day:

1. Schafer CF
2. Uggla 2B
3. Heyward RF
4. McCann C
5. Chipper 3B
6. Freeman 1B
7. Gonzo SS
8. Nate LF
9. Pitcher

Coach (2011 Fredi G. a go!)

June 22nd, 2011
9:47 am

The only troll is the one on our bench right now. His name is Julio Lugo.

Rob In Fayetteville

June 22nd, 2011
9:53 am

@Teddy G and others: Sending Uggla to the minors isn’t as cut and dried as you think. The Braves can’t simply option him to Gwinnett, they have to ask him to go because of his veteran status. And Fredi said the other day (actually, four days ago) that he’s not going anywhere. So he’s gonna be around, for better or worse.

Not that I like that idea or anything….he should agree to go to Gwinnett for a week or two. Maybe someone will drill in his head the concept of not pulling his head off every pitch he swings at. Maybe he’s been watching video of Jeff Francoeur for inspiration….if he has, it’s working ;)

Tami

June 22nd, 2011
10:36 am

This suggests to me that maybe the organization is thin at SS. Any ideas of a good, viable SS becoming available in the free agency market when rosters are allowed to expand? I’m sure a few bloggers might have some ideas.

Random

June 22nd, 2011
11:32 am

kirkinga (June 21st, 2011 7:48 pm): “It’s sad when the Braves use the services of a guy who slammed his wife’s face into the hood of their car after a heated argument on the way to a game against the Braves. Have we forgooten about that incident?”

So, you’d hold a third-string shortstop to a higher standard than the former manager?

“None of this would have been necessary if they had stuck it out with Escobar. With Escobar, you can afford to have a 4-A players as back-up because, chances are, he’s going to play more than an older guy.”

Agreed. Since they’d already picked FGonzalez as heir apparent, you’d'a thought they coulda bit the bullet and made Cox a little more accommodating to and/or tolerant of Escobar in his final three months. That would have done more to defuse any alleged “bad chemistry” in the clubhouse/dugout than anything else.

Rally

June 22nd, 2011
11:53 am

Bringing Omar Infante back may not be as crazy as some of you think. If any of you were around in 1976, you will remember the Braves got Lee Lacy as part of the package from the Dodgers for Dusty Baker. About 2 months into the season, the Dodgers traded again with the Braves just to get Lee Lacy back again.

Coach Hindsight

June 22nd, 2011
12:15 pm

I love the “lineup” know it alls. I think Lugo’s old lady had it coming. If he catches it, your out.

Jay Dubu

June 22nd, 2011
12:29 pm

Prado will not play 2nd this year unless everybody on the team that is capable of playing there is on the DL.

The Braves do not want to create any semblance of a controversy.

Doug

June 22nd, 2011
1:12 pm

I’m still laughing at some of the comments in this Article ( Not at Dave, he is super)Lugo’s ” my mind feels good” cracked me up. I can’t waitto use that line on my friends and wife to see their blank stares.

Also Freddi doesn’t care about Lugo’s bat huh… ok, lets put some more easy out into the horrendous hitting lineup.

Without a couple new bats this team may yet win the wildcard based on some fantastic pitching, starters & bullpen. Can’t help but think of all the pitching talent we have…. if only we scored runs in bunches.
The Braves have some pitching they could trade, certainly for something more valuable than Lugo.

kerryb

June 22nd, 2011
1:15 pm

Bring Infante back???? Your assuming that the Marlins want to trade him and they may not. Besides, if they did they would want a good deal knowing that we want him. Frank’s not going to trade good prospects for Omar Infante. Just because you want someone doesn’t mean you can have them.

TP

June 22nd, 2011
1:16 pm

No the Braves are not broke they just pay the wrong players. The front office just don’t want to pay players like Y. Escobar ,Prado, Infante, Hernandez. take for instant B. McCann and Francure they didn’t have to wait nor ask the very next year they(Braves) made offer which McCann took but Jeff didn’t. Prado was a better player than K. Johnson but who got the 7 million Kelly. now where is Kelly on the bench with the diamondback.just like you brought in ugly to play 2b why you had and allstar there, but you give him 60 million and look what he’s doing for the money just paying him on pass history, but Prado can’t pay him only 3 mill explain. now you gave Chipper to much money for the parttime that he played now he don’t want to leaves until next year so he can get them 16 million.

TP

June 22nd, 2011
1:17 pm

another set back

kerryb

June 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

Doug, I think it is a situation were Hernandez was given a shot and wasn’t doing it so why not try a veteran. Gonzales is getting wore out and maybe is the reason he is not hitting now. Look what giving McCann a few days off has done for him. I guess they are hoping that Gonzo will get his stroke back with some rest. I don’t believe we have anyone else in the upper minors that we have not already tried. I think what they are looking at is for Lugo to give them a good glove at SS for a few days. If he hits it’s a bonus.

kerryb

June 22nd, 2011
1:32 pm

TP , Escobar didn’t get paid because the Braves knew he was a head case and didn’t want to tie up long term money in him. You notice that the Blue Jays only gave him a two year extension. Hernandez hasn’t shown anything to justify giving him a deal. You have to admit that giving McCann a good long term deal was a wise move. I thing he has given justification for doing that. Believe me Prado is going to get his money when the time comes. McCann’s deal was under a different management. The Braves will soon have a problem in a few years. They will have to try and lock up Jurrjens, Hanson, Prado, and Heyward. Also, McCann’s contract will be up before long. In about four more years they will have to start deciding what to sign Freeman, Venters, Kimbell, and Schafer for. I don’t think there will be enough money to go around for everyone. Enjoy what we got now in about five years unless management changes we won’t have a lot of these players anymore

guest

June 23rd, 2011
10:51 am

Maddog
June 22nd, 2011
8:03 am

Hey Freddi, I don’t know if you skipped Baseball 101, but if ANYONE catches the ball, the batter is out!

We’ve had good luck with geriatric Julio’s, so I won’t comment on the move.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Wow, really? That’s how you understood that quote? He’s saying that if Lugo is able to get to the ball and field it (due to his having less range, which is talked about in the same sentence), that he will throw the guy out. He’s not talking about whether he catches a line-drive or an infield fly.

guest

June 23rd, 2011
10:58 am

TP
June 22nd, 2011
1:16 pm

No the Braves are not broke they just pay the wrong players. The front office just don’t want to pay players like Y. Escobar ,Prado, Infante, Hernandez. take for instant B. McCann and Francure they didn’t have to wait nor ask the very next year they(Braves) made offer which McCann took but Jeff didn’t. Prado was a better player than K. Johnson but who got the 7 million Kelly. now where is Kelly on the bench with the diamondback.just like you brought in ugly to play 2b why you had and allstar there, but you give him 60 million and look what he’s doing for the money just paying him on pass history, but Prado can’t pay him only 3 mill explain. now you gave Chipper to much money for the parttime that he played now he don’t want to leaves until next year so he can get them 16 million.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Kelly Johnson hasn’t made $7 million total for his CAREER!!! Look it up. The information is easy enough to find. Just look at the baseball reference website. It has all of the contract information at the bottom of the page.

In their first arbitration years, Kelly Johnson made $2,825,000 from the Braves while Martin Prado is making $3,100,000. You should really know what you’re talking about before you start spouting off and implying that there is a discrimination going on where there is clearly not.

guest

June 23rd, 2011
11:06 am

Correction, he hasn’t made $7 million as of today. Some point during this season, he will go over $7 million for his career. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that he DID NOT make that much the year you (TP) are talking about.

Here’s the table:

Year Age Team Salary Sources Notes
2006 24 Atlanta Braves $336,000
2007 25 Atlanta Braves $380,000
2008 26 Atlanta Braves $430,000
2009 27 Atlanta Braves $2,825,000
2010 28 Arizona Diamondbacks $2,350,000
2011 29 Arizona Diamondbacks $5,850,000
2012 Status not updated,
Career to date (may be incomplete) $6,321,000 Does not include future salaries

blue collar

June 25th, 2011
2:13 am

Chris Woodward?

blue collar

June 25th, 2011
2:14 am

woodynation.com

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