ST. LOUIS -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez agree: There is value in letting young shortstop Jean Segura play out his first full season in the Major Leagues, even if it continues to cost him points on his batting average.
For the first time since Opening Day, Segura woke up Wednesday morning with a batting average below .300. His rising ground-ball rate and falling average -- from .354 at the end of May to .317 at the end of July to .299 after Tuesday -- suggest fatigue. Roenicke said Segura will continue to play.
"If I feel like he's fighting through it, then he's not going to play as much, but when I have conversations with him, he still says he's fine," Roenicke said. "I think that we've got a better chance of winning when he's out there.
"And when I say winning -- winning is always important no matter where you are [in the standings], whether you're 20 games out or one game out. And it's just not for numbers, it's maybe for the starting pitcher who has really been battling and a win could just really jump his progression, or just making a play behind him defensively because [Segura] is so good. Or we're playing a contending team that when he's out of the lineup, other teams are like, 'Why isn't he playing?' Those are all the things that go into why you keep him out there -- as long as he feels good and he tells me he's fine to go."
Asked about Segura's numbers, Roenicke said, "I don't know if he's tired or just in a funk with the bat."
Ramirez thinks he knows.
"He looks a little tired right now," Ramirez said. "He's played a lot. He's only 23, but I'm sure he's pretty tired. He's had a lot of at-bats in a year. I never did winter ball like he did and got as many at-bats as he has."
Ramirez has tried to help Segura with the adjustment to the grueling Major League schedule.
"This is a learning experience," Ramirez said. "You have to pace yourself. You have to cut down on your [batting practice] and your cage work, maybe do a little more in the weight room to stay stronger during the season. I learned a lot from Moises [Alou] and Sammy [Sosa] going about their business in Chicago. You can't go out there and wear yourself out every single day.
"I talked to [Segura] a little about it earlier. But now that he's struggling, he wants to do more in the cage, more in early BP. But you can't do that. You're going to wear yourself out, especially when it's 95 [degrees] out there. It's all a learning experience for him."