The impact Julio Lugo had on the Boston Red Sox organization lasted much longer than his tenure with the team.
Former Red Sox infielder Will Middlebrooks credited Lugo on Monday for helping him and other minor leaguers become better professionals. Middlebrooks used Twitter to share the story about how Lugo affected his career.
“RIP Julio Lugo,” Middlebrooks wrote in a Tweet. “Back in 2008 I was in extended spring training getting ready for my first season with the Lowell Spinners. He spent some time with us young kids in Ft. Myers during a rehab assignment. He taught us a lot about infield routines and how to be a professional.”
Lugo’s family told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas on Monday that Lugo had died, presumably due to a heart attack, at age 45. Lugo played for the Red Sox between 2007 and 2009 and helped the team win the World Series in his first season in Boston.
Armed with the knowledge Lugo imparted, Middlebrooks progressed through the minor leagues and debuted for Boston in 2012. Middlebrooks featured heavily for Boston during the 2013 American League Division Series and American League Championship Series, which the Red Sox navigated en route to winning the World Series that year.
It’s easy to understand how the Red Sox benefitted from the influence Lugo had on Middlebrooks and others.