BOSTON -- In originally explaining his decision to have Julio Lugo on the bench for Saturday night's game and Nick Green in the starting lineup, Red Sox manager Terry Francona noted that with the night-game, day-game turnaround, the two players would alternate those two games.
After watching Green play a steady shortstop and go 1-for-3 in Saturday's 3-2 loss, Francona changed his mind.
Green was right back in there on Sunday, while Lugo, who made a costly defensive miscue in Friday's game, was out of the lineup again.
Lugo was asked why he wasn't playing.
"Ask Tito," said Lugo.
The media did just that a few minutes later.
"I actually thought Nick played a really good game," said Francona. "That's really kind of what it is. We're trying to play good baseball, and sometimes I don't know if saying 'going with the hot hand' is appropriate, because I actually think Lugo is swinging the bat OK, but I thought Nick really played good."
Coincidence or not, Boston is 17-6 when Green starts at short and 6-9 when Lugo starts. The Red Sox did win an additional game when Lugo started at designated hitter. Lugo started his season on April 28 after undergoing right knee surgery during Spring Training.
"Well, 17-6 is significant for me, but I don't know if it's like in hockey, the plus-minus," Francona said. "I guess any time we have positive numbers, it's good. I don't know that you can hang the opposite on somebody. I don't know that that's entirely fair in this game. [Jonathan Papelbon] left a fastball over the plate last night. I don't know that we'll put a minus-one on Jason Bay."
Though Green has made eight errors -- most of which the player himself referred to as "dumb errors" -- the Red Sox have largely been pleased with the job he has done. Consider that Green was barely on the team's radar when Spring Training started, but he had a chance to open some eyes when Lugo and Jed Lowrie both went down with injuries.
"We love the kid," Francona said. "That's part of the reason why in Spring Training he got an extended look to begin with. He came ready and he just showed up every day ready to go, and he does that now. When he plays, when he doesn't play -- he's always ready.
"Yeah, as a coach, you appreciate guys like that, sure. He's had kind of an uncertain road the last few years. You get a good kid who's trying to do his best, sure, but we root for everybody. We want to win games regardless of what their personalities are like. We end up finding ways to like everybody. That's part of our job. But he's an easy one [to like]."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.