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10/05/06 5:27 PM ET

Julio Lugo pregame interview

Dodgers infielder feels confident at third

Q. Talk about just staying sharp over the last couple months, how you've been able to do that.

JULIO LUGO: Well, you just try to come here and work as hard as you can and try to do your best. To stay sharp it's hard when you're not playing every day, to stay sharp. But you got to come here and work.

Q. Can you compare the experience of playing every day, doing what you do, versus not playing every day and being here.

JULIO LUGO: Well, playing every day is more simple 'cause you know you're gonna come here and know you're gonna be in the lineup. When you're not playing every day, you don't know if you're gonna be ready. Or you don't know you're going to be ready to play every day because you don't know if you playing one day or you not playing the next day.

Q. Where is your comfort level at third compared to second or short?

JULIO LUGO: Well, I played second more than third. I haven't played third base a lot this year. This is the first time I ever played the most I played. But I feel good. I feel I could do it over there, too.

Q. What's the biggest challenge at third base for a guy who's not all that experienced at the position?

JULIO LUGO: Just the angles. The angle of the balls, the throws to first base is a little different. But besides that, it's just another position in the infield.

Q. Can you talk about what you've seen of the kid you guys have going today. I mean, you've seen him. What has it been like playing behind him?

JULIO LUGO: Well, he pitched very well his last outing, so I think he built some confidence. He's throwing the ball well. He threw against San Francisco, he's doing very well, and he feels good. He feels that he belongs out here.

Q. Grady talks about the importance of veterans, he includes yourself in that, because of so many of the guys that are young who had to play a role. This is another example of that. He's really young.

JULIO LUGO: (Laughing). Well, we have a good combination in our veteran guys and the team, we have a good combination of the young guys. The young guys, they're very good, they can do the job at any time. That's when all the other players that have been here for a little longer step out and tell them how to try to control their self in different situations.

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Q. How much confidence do you think Kuo can draw from his success against the Mets and their troubles against lefties?

JULIO LUGO: Well, he knows this is a very good team, this is a very good offensive team, and he's gonna face a team that they just come to win the division and we in the playoffs. It's not gonna be the same like when he pitched against them last time. I think they gonna be more focused, they gonna be more hungry. For them leading the series right now, I think they're gonna try to beat us today and take the series to 2 0.

Q. How aware are you of the discussions of the Mets potentially having interest in you at the end of the season?

JULIO LUGO: Well, you know, it's nice to know that people want you out there, but I'm one of the type of guys, anything happens, I try to stay away. I mean, I'm grateful for them to, you know, be interested because, one, I was raised here in New York, I was a Met fan for a while. But when something happens, I try to stay away from it.

Q. Where exactly did you grow up, how devoted a Met fan were you?

JULIO LUGO: Well, I was raised in Brooklyn, Sunset Park. I was crazy about the Mets. I remember the blue hats, used to love the blue hats they used to have. This team has a very, you know a lot of history.

Q. Who was your favorite Met when you were growing up?

JULIO LUGO: Howard Johnson (smiling), yeah.

Q. Any reason why?

JULIO LUGO: I just loved the way he played. Switch hitter. I just loved the way he played.

Q. You said you grew up in Sunset Park, what high school did you go to?

JULIO LUGO: I went to Fort Hamilton High School in Bensonhurst.

Q. What position did you play?

JULIO LUGO: Shortstop.

Q. What other aspects of Mets history appeal to you? How do Mets fans compare to Dodgers fans?

JULIO LUGO: They both loud, I tell you that (smiling). Mets, it's different because the East Coast, the people are more aggressive, more into it, they know a lot about baseball. Here in New York they know a lot about baseball. In LA, they a little more laid back, but they great over there, too. They love the Dodgers, you know. They care for their players very much out there.

Q. What about the Mets' history, what other aspect of Mets' history do you like?

JULIO LUGO: To tell you the truth, I don't follow much about history, I just watch the games, like the players. But if I sit here and tell you about history, I don't know much.

Q. At the beginning of the season, you were playing on a team with your brother, and I was wondering, did you play a role in helping him get that job? If so, how?

JULIO LUGO: Well, to tell you the truth, no, I didn't. I mean, my brother went to Tampa and he just earned his spot. He went to spring training, and he battled for a pitching spot, a reliever. He did great. He proved that. He had a very good season this year. He finished very well. I didn't think I had much say. I'm just happy that he made the team out of spring training. I didn't have much to say.

Q. Did they solicit your opinion at all?

JULIO LUGO: Well, if they would have, I would say, Yes, keep him. But, no, no, they didn't (smiling).

Q. You had said when you came to the Dodgers that you still considered yourself a shortstop and if you couldn't do that for the Dodgers, fine, but next year as a free agent you want to sign somewhere as a shortstop. How would the Mets work for that since they pretty much have a shortstop?

JULIO LUGO: Well, it's something that you got to come and let things happen, you know. I play that's my main position, you know, I played shortstop all through my career. But those kind of things, you got to sit back and see. If, you know, you want me to play second, I will think about it. I mean, I always played short, but there's no reason why you couldn't, you know, do something for a good team, and you know you gonna come here and win or anywhere else, that you could do it, too.

Q. You grew up in Brooklyn, were there Dodger fans in Brooklyn when you were growing up?

JULIO LUGO: Yeah, there were. I'm from the Dominican Republic, and they're very, very famous over there in the Dominican Republic. There's a lot of Dodger fans in the Dominican and there were a lot of Dodger fans in Brooklyn when I was growing up.

Q. Were you surprised there was so much interest in a team that had left 20 years earlier back then?

JULIO LUGO: No, I wasn't.

Q. How old were you when you came here?

JULIO LUGO: I was 13 years old.

Q. Thirteen years old from the Dominican straight to Sunset Park?

JULIO LUGO: Yeah, I came straight to Sunset Park.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.