The Braves released Julio Lugo in preparation for activating newly-acquired Jack Wilson from the disabled list Friday and creating a spot on the 40-man roster soon to be occupied by reliever Peter Moylan. Lugo hit .136 (6-for-44) in limited action as the backup shortstop.
He’ll leave as a footnote on the season, but the answer to a great trivia question: who was the guy umpire Jerry Meals called safe on that blown call at the end of the 19-inning marathon with the Pirates? And Lugo also might be the last to sit in the locker widely considered to be cursed in the Braves clubhouse.
For years, any player who sat in the locker next to where Greg Maddux used to sit was gone by the next year, starting with Jeff Blauser when Turner Field opened in 1997. Kenshin Kawakami was the only player known to last longer than one season in it, and he probably wished he hadn’t, becoming the disappearing man on last year’s roster.
This year, four Braves have sat in that locker and lived to regret it. Joe Mather was released, Cristhian Martinez was demoted to the minors and Jordan Schafer was traded to the Astros. Lugo was its latest “victim.”
Braves general manager Frank Wren only half-kiddingly instructed clubhouse attendant Chris Van Zant Friday to board it up with plywood Friday.
“Like storm shutters in a hurricane,” Wren said.
Among some of the previous players to sit there were Bret Boone, Robert Fick, Wally Joyner, Ken Caminiti, Albie Lopez, Damian Moss, Chris Seelbach and Joe Nelson.