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Former Rays SS Julio Lugo Dead At 45

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Former Tampa Bay shortstop Julio Lugo, who starred for the team just prior to their ascendance in the American League East, has died according to a report from ESPN’s Enrique Rojas at the age of 45.

Lugo joined the then-Devil Rays as a free agent in 2003 after being released by the Houston Astros, and became a mainstay in the Tampa Bay infield for four seasons, missing just nine games total in the two full years he played with the Rays.  He played 505 games in a Tampa Bay uniform, amassing a slash line of .287/.350/.421 with 40 home runs, 212 RBI and 88 stolen bases.  He was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline in 2006 before signing a four year, $36 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.

He helped Boston win the 2007 World Series by hitting .385 in their four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies, but played in just 82 games in 2008, and was traded to St. Louis in the middle of the 2009 season.  He finished the year with the Cardinals, then played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2010 and wrapped up his major league career with 22 games as an Atlanta Brave in 2011.

The Rays expressed their condolences on Lugo’s death on social media.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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