Lugo improves following concussion

Lugo improves following concussion

BALTIMORE -- Julio Lugo reported some improvement on Tuesday, though the minor concussion he sustained in a second-base collision on Friday in Minnesota forced him to miss a fourth consecutive game.

"I feel good. I feel better," said Lugo before the Red Sox opened a two-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards. "I just want to be cleared by the doctors so I can play."

When that will happen, however, remains unclear. Lugo said he would see a doctor later this week, but was unsure whether the examination would occur in Baltimore or when the Red Sox return to Boston for a three-game Interleague series against Milwaukee that begins on Friday at Fenway Park.

"With that mild concussion, I think he's showing signs of getting better every day. I think ... we're going to take it slow with him a little bit," said bench coach Brad Mills, who is filling in for manager Terry Francona, whose mother-in-law passed away on Monday night. "When we go out to take BP and fielding, see how he's moving. But he is getting better."

The concussion is a first for Lugo, who is hitting .285 with nine RBIs and had hit safely in seven of eight games before his injury. Because he's recovering from a brain issue, Lugo is finding the slow recovery more difficult to deal with.

"It's not frustrating -- it's something that happens," he said. "But it's something you can't see, and that's what's tough. If you hurt your shoulder, you can see how you did it. If you cut your hand, you can see that. But you can't see inside your brain."

Alex Cora, who is 5-for-8 with two RBIs in two games since being activated Sunday from the 15-day disabled list after suffering a sprained right elbow, started in Lugo's place Tuesday.

Mills said that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who sat out Monday's game in Minnesota after being hit in the right knee by a pitch Sunday night, was available Tuesday.

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.