The 34-year-old became expendable after the
Cardinals signed Felipe Lopez in late February. Lugo was acquired from
Boston last July 22 in the trade that sent Chris Duncan — son of
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan — to the Red Sox.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Lugo
wouldn't have been happy as a part-time player.
"He acknowledged that he wanted to play a
prominent role," La Russa said. "You try to avoid putting guys in a
position that you don't think they'd do well in,"
Baltimore will pay just the $400,000 minimum.
At the time of last summer's trade, Boston agreed to pay $8.6 million of
Lugo's $9 million salary this year.
The Orioles' infield is set with Brian Roberts
at second, Cesar Izturis at shortstop and Miguel Tejada at third, but
Roberts has been dealing with a nagging back problem and Lugo could find
semi-regular playing time as the primary backup for all three.
"I'm going to have to see when he gets here and
see what we're going to do, but he's got experience, has some energy.
We'll look forward to fitting him in," Orioles manager Dave Trembley
Lugo hit .277 with two homers and 13 RBIs for
the Cardinals last season and had a .286 average with one homer and
three RBIs in 33 spring training at-bats. He was the starting shortstop
on Boston's 2007 World Series championship team.
Joe Mather, Allen Craig and Nick Stavinoha, who
had been competing for two Cardinals roster spots, all made the
opening-day roster. All three can play the outfield, and Craig and
Mather can also play at least one corner infield spot.