Julio Lugo fields ground balls with the shortstops Monday. (Chris Forsberg / Boston.com)
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A few things from the clubhouse before players took the field . . .
- Julio Lugo said this morning he’ll wait and see how things transpire by the end of spring training before making a decision on whether he’ll ask for a trade. The veteran Sox shortstop has two years remaining on a four-year, $36 million contract — in other words, about $18 million remaining, which was a deterrent in trying to deal him this winter.
The Sox entertained a Dontrelle Willis-Lugo swap, but that one died quickly over the winter when the Red Sox held out for lefty Nate Robertson.
“We’re gonna have to wait and see what happens,” Lugo said today. “I heard rumors I was gonna be traded [to the Tigers over the winter], but it’s a business and you have to do what they tell you. You call and see if they’re true . . . you want to be where people want you.”
Lugo greeted Rocco Baldelli, his former Tampa Bay teammate, moments ago. Lugo gave Baldelli a hug and shared a laugh as they reunited as Red Sox teammates.
Lugo is about 10 pounds heavier after an offseason during which he not only healed his injured quad but decided to gain muscle, something he said he’s been wanting to do for many years. Lugo said he would have been ready for the World Series had the Sox made it, but the team has not indicated whether they would have activated him.
“It wasn’t frustrating from a personal level, but that we lost,” said Lugo, who said he is 100 percent healthy. “I did what I had to do to be ready. Every year is a new beginning whatever happened last year doesn’t matter.”
On whether he would accept a bench role, he said, “Nobody’s gonna be happy on the bench.” He added about his competition with Jed Lowrie, “I don’t worry about that. I just come here to play baseball the best I can. I don’t make those decisions. They know what they’re going to get. This is not my first rodeo, so they know.”
- Michael Bowden was one of the stars at the Athletes Performance Insitute this offseason. Overall, he’s gained about 10 pounds of muscle and he says while it’s too early to see the gains on the mound, he said, “My throwing sessions so far have been great. I feel a lot stronger.” Bowden also hinted the Sox might be working on a new pitch with him. He said nothing has been said yet, but he expects to be working on something new, maybe a different changeup.
- Catcher Josh Bard, the former Padre, says he can’t believe that Red Sox have former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito in the bullpen.
“In the time I spent in the National League, he had top-five stuff,” said Bard. “I mean, he was in a small group of guys who had the filthiest stuff imaginable. This guy never makes a mistake. He hits his spots as well as anyone I’ve seen in my years in baseball. To have him in this bullpen — a guy who can save 40 games — it’s almost unreal the Red Sox were able to get him and that he was out there for as long as he was.”
- Speaking of Saito, clubhouse manager Joe Cochran wasted no time in handing him No. 24, which for the previous seven-plus seasons was worn by Manny Ramirez.
- Jason Bay was the latest positional player to arrive. Bay is in the final year of his contract and can be a free agent next year, but said he’s not worried about contractual issues at this point. Bay said he’d love to sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox because he’s really enjoyed his time here.