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Brewers eyeing Segura's heavy winter workload

Brewers eyeing Segura's heavy winter workload

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Brewers eyeing Segura's heavy winter workload
MILWAUKEE -- Jean Segura logged a hit and an RBI on Tuesday as a Dominican All-Star team topped its Venezuelan rivals, continuing a long season for the 22-year-old Brewers shortstop that began in February and is still going strong.

That's longer than the Brewers would like, though assistant general manager Gord Ash resisted sending up any alarms.

"He's young," Ash said with a shrug.

Segura, the centerpiece from the Brewers' perspective of the July trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Angels, had taken 758 at-bats in 190 games from his Angels Spring Training debut in March through Tuesday's exhibition, and those totals do not include his games in the Angels' Minor League camp. He is currently under contract for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Professional Baseball League, which plays regular-season games through Dec. 21.

In his first 31 games with the Gigantes, Segura batted .328 with 22 runs scored, 20 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

"Can you imagine somebody coming to us and saying, 'Hey, we don't want [Japanese outfielder Norichika] Aoki playing anymore?'" Ash said. "I mean, he's under contract and he's a youthful player. They have contractual rights, so it's not just as easy as, 'Hey, tell them you're not going to play anymore.' Also, we here don't necessarily understand the pride factor and pressure they put on these young guys to play.

"So, yes, the idea is for him to scale back. But to totally stop? I don't know if that's realistic."

Ash said the Brewers would be much more concerned about a pitcher's workload than a position player.

Segura figures to get plenty of work again in 2013, considering he is pegged as the Brewers' everyday shortstop. The team gave him a trial last August and September and Segura passed, batting .264 with a .321 on-base percentage in 44 games. After batting .200 with no extra-base hits in his first 15 games with the Brewers, Segura batted .296 with four doubles and three triples in his final 29 games, 28 of them starts.

There are pros and cons to making Segura an everyday Major League shortstop at 23 years old, manager Ron Roenicke conceded.

"The pros would be the ability that he has tremendous range, great arm. He's going to keep getting better," Roenicke said. "Offensively, he's really swinging the bat well in winter ball now. Hopefully, that propels him into next season, gives him confidence.

"The cons would be he is a young guy. He is basically unproven. He didn't spend any time in Triple-A, made the jump from Double-A up, which is difficult to do at a very young age. So you would wonder if things don't go well, which they're going to at some time. He is going to struggle. I know he struggled at the beginning of last year and ended up swinging the bat a lot better to where his average is pretty good.

"There's going to be some bumps in how he handles that at a young age. It is going to be interesting to see. I like his confidence, his cockiness, but I also like the fact that he's a worker. So he's an exciting guy."

Of one thing, Roenicke was sure: Segura showed enough at shortstop during his late-season tenure to convince club officials that he is a solid long-term option there. His stout frame led some scouts to predict Segura will someday fill out and move to second base.

"I think, if you look at the arm strength and you look at the range that he has, I think you have to assume that he's going to get better until he's well into his upper 20s," Roenicke said. "So if he keeps improving, this guy, there's no reason for him to not be a good shortstop for a lot of years."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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