Lugo an Oriole

Lugo.jpg

The Orioles traded for Julio Lugo
this morning, a move which president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail
couldn’t confirm or deny because it’s pending approval by the Commissioner’s
Office. It will be for a player to be named later.

Lugo confirmed the deal to reporters and said he was informed of the pending trade on Wednesday.

“They were honest to me,” Lugo said of the Cardinals. “They did everything
they told me they were going to do. It didn’t work out here. They told
me if I
get a better situation, they were going to trade me. I’m happy they did
it.”

The trade makes sense for Baltimore, given that second
baseman Brian Roberts has been slowed this spring by a herniated disc in his
lower back. The 34-year-old Lugo would provide middle infield depth at shortstop as well,
backing up Cesar Izturis. Right now, the Orioles have Robert Andino as the primary
back-up at short, but the organization hasn’t been overly impressed with his
defense this spring. Lugo would likely take Andino’s roster spot, or the spot of Ty Wigginton. If Andino is taken off the 25-man roster, he would have to be released since he’s out of options.

Lugo was expected to be St.
Louis’ utility man this season, but his role became unidentified when the
Cardinals signed free agent Felipe Lopez in late February.

Lugo is owed $9 million this
season and has a $9 million vesting option for 2011, but the Red Sox, who
signed him to his current contract during the 2006-07 offseason, are paying the
bulk of the contract.  The Orioles deal is not believed to include cash considerations.

Acquired from the Red Sox in
exchange for Chris Duncan in late July, the 34-year-old, right-handed hitter
batted .277 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 51 games for the Cardinals last
season.

Battling a groin injury, he
batted .242 in 10 games this spring.

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