KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles acquired infielder Julio Lugo and an undisclosed amount of cash from the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday for a player to be named later or cash.
The Cardinals will pay most of Lugo's 2010 salary of $9 million. He is in the final year of the four-year, $36 million contract he signed with the Red Sox before 2007. Boston dealt Lugo to St. Louis last July.
Baltimore will have Lugo as insurance in the event second baseman Brian Roberts will not be able to start the regular season. The Orioles open at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Roberts has spent most of spring training recovering from a herniated disk in his lower back, but the All-Star has played in three straight games and is gaining ground in his recovery since his debut last Friday.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys. I loved it here," Lugo told reporters Thursday. "I wish I could come back. I really liked it here. It's one of the best places I've been."
Lugo, 34, batted .280 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 88 games for Boston and St. Louis in 2009. His role with the Cardinals was diminished after St. Louis brought in Felipe Lopez to start spring training. Lugo can play short, second base, third base and left field.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, speaking to reporters in Jupiter, said Thursday that Lugo would not have been happy as a part-time player.
"He acknowledged that he wanted to play a prominent role," La Russa said, according to The Associated Press. "You try to avoid putting guys in a position that you don't think they'd do well in."
Lugo has an option of $9 million for 2011 based on making 600 plate appearances. To make room for him, the Orioles designated infielder Michael Aubrey for assignment.