If Julio Lugo were hitting .350 and making every play in the field, Nick Green would be a once-a-week utility player who would spell Lugo occasionally and spell Mike Lowell occasionally and pinch-run occasionally but otherwise not see much playing time at all.
Because Lugo has been about as frustrating as a shortstop can get -- and don't think his flat-footed throw in Friday's loss to the Mets didn't drive Red Sox management crazy -- Green has started back-to-back games and appears once again to be the team's starting shortstop.
"I don't know how it's going to play," he said. "When I play, I'm not ambushed. They've been great about that. As long as I have a heads-up, I'm happy -- whenever they put me in, I'll play."
He actually thought he might not be able to play on Sunday; he thought he might have broken his finger trying to make a barehanded play on a ground ball in the seventh inning on Saturday. But he had his finger checked out on Sunday morning, he was told he was back in the starting lineup for the second straight day.
He made every play in the field, and his two-run single in the fifth inning plated what turned out to be the game-winning run. (He even alertly got himself into a rundown to make sure George Kottaras could score from second.) He's now hitting .309 and OBP'ing .369; he's actually outproducing Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate in several different measures.
He certainly feels good about the way he's playing. But that doesn't mean he feels good about watching Lugo endure what he's having to endure.
"It's tough," said Green, who played second base alongside Lugo for Tampa Bay in 2005. "I've known him for four years. He's a good guy, and I don't ever want to see anybody be treated poorly. The fans have every right to say what they say, but he's an individual and it's tough for me and tough for the team. We don't really know how he feels about the whole thing, so it's a tough situation. I always want him to do the best he can do, and he's been awesome to me for the four years I've known him. It's kind of tough."