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Shortstop shortage might get worse
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published April 6, 2006
BALTIMORE - Julio Lugo walked slowly through the Devil Rays clubhouse, bent over, holding his left side and moaning.
No Oscars are expected, but Lugo got chuckles exaggerating the pain in his strained oblique. Less entertaining for the shortstop, though, is the possibility he could land on the disabled list.
Manager Joe Maddon said a decision could be made today.
"I know when I cough it hurts," Lugo said. "They told me that's not a good sign."
Lugo's condition was one of a series of injury-related issues addressed before Wednesday's game.
Backup shortstop Luis Ordaz went on the 15-day disabled list with what Maddon said appeared to be "a divot" on his left kneecap that could require surgery and keep Ordaz out longer than two weeks.
He is in St. Petersburg to see orthopedic team physician Koco Eaton.
Nick Green, who until Monday had not played shortstop since 2000 in the minors, likely will get the bulk of the work there with Ty Wigginton as backup.
Maddon said there are no plans to bring up B.J. Upton from Triple-A Durham, though slugging utility player Russell Branyan was called up.
"It's baseball," Maddon said of the injuries. "It happens. You make your next move and move on."
Lugo said his injury occurred during Monday's batting practice and he believes he could be well in "four or five days."
"It's nice that he said that," Maddon said, "but we'll have to wait."
Lugo called the injury "real disappointing.
"It's hard for me," he said. "I never pulled a muscle in my life."
ORDAZ'S INJURY: Maddon said it occurred when Ordaz slid into second during Saturday's final spring game, the day the roster was set.
"He said he was fine," Maddon said. "All these guys, they want to play and they tell you they're good. You listen to the guys."
Officially, the injury is a bruise behind the left kneecap. But Maddon said an X-ray and an MRI exam seemed to reveal more.
"It's almost like a little chunk came out," he said.
NO UPTON: Regardless of Lugo's condition, Maddon said Upton will not be called up.
"We sent him down for a reason," Maddon said. "That goal has not yet been accomplished, so I don't think it's wise to do that right now."
Upton, 21, is believed ready for the majors offensively, but has issues with the glove.
"I'd be happy to talk to him but I don't think an explanation is necessary," Maddon said. "He needs to become a better shortstop first, and he knows that."
MORE MOVES: The Rays claimed right-hander Scott Dunn off waivers from the Angels and assigned him to Durham.
... To make room for Branyan and Dunn on the 40-man roster, catcher and Tampa native Kevin Cash and right-hander Carlos Hines were designated for assignment. The Rays have 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers. ... Right-hander Chad Harville accepted an assignment to Durham. ... Right-hander Tim Corcoran cleared waivers and was sent to Durham.
MISCELLANY: Maddon said Branyan likely will start today in rightfield. He is 4-for-8 with two home runs and two doubles off Orioles starter Kris Benson. ... Durham, Double-A Montgomery and Class A Visalia and Southwest Michigan open their seasons today.