Pitcher Luis Lugo makes the most of pandemic baseball

Luis Lugo (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Luis Lugo (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

We all know that 2020 has been anything but normal, especially for the minor league ball players who had barely arrived at Spring Training before MLB suspended all baseball activities due to COVID-19 back in March. Cubs’ pitching prospect Luis Lugo, who saw time with Myrtle Beach and Tennessee in 2019, was physically and mentally ready to prepare for a new season of baseball when everything came to a sudden halt.

“Everything was uncertain for me when everything got shut down,” said Lugo. He could not return home to Venezuela to be with his family because of the travel ban. “That affected me in many ways mentally but after a lot of self meditation and deep talks with my family and friends, I finally started to feel better and focused on baseball again.”

With life on hold and indefinitely stuck at the Cubs’ Spring Training complex in Mesa, the 26-year-old was welcomed back to Myrtle Beach by his former host family during his time with the Pelicans while the United States went on lockdown. “The Surdam’s are such an amazing family,” Lugo said of the family that took him and fellow teammate Enrique de los Rios in during the pandemic. Lugo also praised the Cubs for staying in constant contact with him through phone and email while stranded in the US.

Lugo kept up with his baseball workouts during his time in Myrtle Beach by playing catch everyday on the beach with de los Rios. The Cubs also put him in touch with someone in nearby Conway, South Carolina with a baseball facility so the lefty could get some bullpens in.

With the MiLB season cancelled, most players found themselves out of luck for playing time in 2020, but Lugo is one of the few getting the chance to play in live games. Because he has ties to Italy (he pitched for Team Italy in the 2017 WBC), he left Myrtle Beach on July 14 to begin playing with the Italian League, one of the few leagues around the world that had not cancelled their season. Pending any virus disruptions, the season is currently scheduled to end on September 13.

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