BALTIMORE -- It was in the bowels of Camden Yards, and in near anonymity, but the moment that took place on Monday afternoon was plenty significant for Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo.
For the first time since severely straining his left quadriceps on July 11, Lugo was able to take some swings in the batting cage, albeit indoors.
The right-handed hitter can foresee himself embarking on a Minor League rehab assignment in roughly a week.
"It feels good," said Lugo. "It took me a little [to get to this point]. I was stiff and hurting. Right now, I'm not feeling any pain. It feels good to be back in the hitting motion."
Assuming there are no further setbacks, Sept. 1 is a realistic estimate for Lugo to be playing for the Red Sox again.
The other disabled member of the left side of Boston's infield -- third baseman Mike Lowell -- is also making progress from a strained right oblique suffered last Tuesday.
Due to the Neil Diamond concert at Fenway Park this week, Lowell went home to South Florida to do his rehab there for a few days.
"He's going back to Miami for four days," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Part of that is he can do 'two a days' with a guy in Miami. The other thing is Fenway is closed for a couple of days. He wanted to go, and we had no problem because we know what he's going to do. He'll come back and get evaluated, and if he's baseball-ready, come to Toronto. If not, he'll meet us in New York."
Once Lowell rejoins the team during this road trip, it will mean he's ready to resume baseball activities.
But Francona is determined not to let Lowell rush himself back.
"This will be a hard one as we proceed to gauge, because he's going to lie," Francona said. "That's part of the reason he's good. He hurt it during that at-bat. He couldn't swing until the third strike, but he didn't say anything. That's part of the reason he's a good player. I know that may sound backwards. Good players kind of will themselves to do things that maybe they shouldn't be able to do."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.