Lugo feels 'fine' after throw hits him in head

Tests come back negative; team to be cautious about his return, Showalter says

August 29, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

ANAHEIM, Calif. — — Julio Lugo said he never lost consciousness while sprawled out on the infield dirt at Angel Stadium in Sunday's first inning. He was just stunned.

"It scares you when you get hit in the head," said Lugo, who was plunked behind his right ear on a pickoff throw by Los Angeles Angels starter Jered Weaver. "You've got to be careful. It just happened so fast, I didn't know what was going on. Â I was stunned."

Lugo remained motionless for several moments -- with his hand draped on first base -- before sitting up. He eventually walked off on his own power and was replaced in the lineup by Jake Fox. Ty Wigginton moved to second base, and Fox played first for the rest of the game.

Lugo, who was starting his second straight game at second for the injured Brian Roberts, was examined by Angels physicians and taken for a CAT scan during the game. He said the tests came back negative and that he was not diagnosed with a concussion.

"We are going to wait and see what the doctor says tomorrow and the next day," Lugo said when asked about when he could play again. "I felt dizzy and a little ringing in my ear, but then I was fine."

From the dugout, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he heard the ball strike Lugo's head and assumed it had hit his helmet, but Lugo said it got him right on the skull.

"He's got a pretty good lump there," Showalter said. Weaver "hit him flush, and it was scary. With the knowledge we have in the background of concussions and head injuries or whatever, we will be very cautious with it."

Lugo suffered a concussion in 2007 when he hit his head on an infielder's knee while attempting to slide. That paled in comparison to what his brother, Ruddy, experienced earlier this season.

In April, while pitching for the Toledo Mud Hens, Ruddy Lugo was struck in the right temple with a batted ball and was hospitalized for several days. So the Lugo family, which was watching the game on TV, was understandably concerned when the Orioles infielder hit the ground.

"Everybody was sending me messages," Lugo said. "Before I came up here, there were very [many] messages on my phone."

Gonzalez's take on Strasburg

When news of Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg's impending Tommy John ligament replacement surgery surgery was made public, Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez said he immediately felt for the kid. His second thought was that Strasburg will return in a year or so as good as new.

"I definitely feel bad for the guy," said Gonzalez, who had elbow reconstruction surgery in 2007 while with the Atlanta Braves. "It is not what you want to hear, but he will get back. If he works hard, he'll get back."

Gonzalez returned to the big leagues in just over a year from his operation. Fellow Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon had Tommy John surgery in May 2009 and was ready for spring training.

"It may take a difference of a month or so, and you obviously saw what Simon did. Alfredo came back in nine months, and he was throwing 98 mph the other day," said Gonzalez, who doesn't know Strasburg but shares his agent, Scott Boras. "So as far as [Strasburg's] stuff and his velocity coming back, well, you're sorry he's going to be away for a year, but he'll be all right."

Jones and Roberts update

Showalter held both Adam Jones (left shoulder contusion) and Roberts (sore hip) out of the starting lineup Sunday but said he believes both could return after today's off day to play in Tuesday's opener against Boston.

Jones, who has been out since getting hit by a pitch in the shoulder Tuesday, tested his shoulder pre-game and said he felt much better.

"We feel confident we'll get him back Tuesday," Showalter said.

Showalter said Jones and Roberts would receive treatment at Camden Yards today. Roberts was examined by the Angels' team doctor this weekend and will meet with club physicians back in Baltimore. He has missed two games after leaving Friday night with the hip pain, which the club doesn't believe is related to the back injury that shelved him for most of this season.

"Right now, I don't think there are any plans other than have our people look at it when we get back," Showalter said. "We will see where we are on Tuesday. I'm holding out hope that he'll be able to go again -- if not, we will make adjustments and go on."

When asked if he thought he'd play Tuesday, Roberts said, "I hope so."

Around the horn

The Angels have been shut out in Weaver's last three starts. Â The Orioles are 4-3-1 in series under Showalter. They were 4-28-2 in season series before Showalter took over. Â The Single-A Frederick Keys won 7-6 Sunday on a walk-off, bases-loaded hit-by-pitch of shortstop Pedro Florimon.

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