Julio Lugo, who started working on his rehab in the pool three days ago, and said he's ahead of schedule on his return, also talked about his good friend Manny Ramirez. Lugo defended the left fielder on the current situation, and about his knee injury. Ramirez said, when I asked him how his knee was, "It's OK. I'm sucking it up. I'm playing."
"I've been here two years, I think I'm one of the guys closest with Manny," Lugo said. "I've been closer to Manny than anybody else. As a friend I'm trying to defend him. He cares so much. He does so much to be ready. Sometimes things distract him. Things just came together. I don't think he means anything. He [felt] real bad about the Jack [McCormick, the team's traveling secretary] thing. He apologized to Jack and he apologized to [Kevin] Youkilis. Those things, nobody even mentioned that. I don't think anybody mentioned that. Sometimes people misjudge him. People think he don't care. That's not the way it is. I think you guys should know that. He's the first guy to come here, the only guy who gets up at 10 o'clock in the morning every day is Manny, to get set. It's unfortunate that things like that happen. He shouldn't be doing that stuff. He's a mature guy. He understands he made a mistake. Just move on, ask for forgivenness, like he should, and move on."
What about the problem with the knee?
"That's something that you can't say. He says he's hurting, he's hurting. Nobody knows. Sometimes you've got tendinitis in your knee and it doesn't show anything. But if you're hurting, you're hurting. I can't say anything. I know Manny, he plays every day. He's been hurt for a while. They ask me the same thing, 'Is he hurt?' I'm like, 'He tells me that he's hurting. I can't tell you that he's not hurting.' I shouldn't even be saying that. I know. I know he's been hurt for a while. If you ask me, that's what I'm going to tell you. He tells me that he's hurt and I believe him."
Does he want to be here?
"Of course he wants to be here. That's not true that you can't trade Manny. Somebody's going to take him. I mean he's been the best hitter in baseball. Manny wants to be here. I think he wants to finish here. He just wants to be settled, like everybody else."