Julio Lugo, a former Red Sox shortstop, has died, according to ESPN. He was 45.
ESPN baseball writer Enrique Rojas shared on social media Monday that Lugo’s family informed him of Lugo’s passing of a suspected heart attack.
Lugo played shortstop in the Red Sox’ 2007 World Series season, the first year of a four-year, $36 million contract he signed with the team as a free agent. Brought in to replace the defensively gifted Alex Gonzalez, Lugo was signed in part to provide more offense, particularly with his speed on the basepaths, in a position that had been filled on a long-term basis with no success since the 2004 trade of Nomar Garciaparra.
In his debut season with the Red Sox, Lugo hit only .237 with a .294 on-base percentage, but he did steal 33 bases.
In the postseason, his bat helped the Red Sox win their second championship in four years. Lugo hit .271 (13 for 48) over Boston’s 14-game playoff campaign, including .385 (5 for 13) in the World Series.
Lugo played one more full season with the Red Sox in 2008 before being traded to the Cardinals in July 2009. In his 12 major league seasons, Lugo also played for the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, and Atlanta Braves.
Lugo was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic. His 46th birthday would have been Tuesday.
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