PITTSBURGH -- Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, whose hot start last season carried him to the All-Star Game in New York, knows it is too early to start sweating the numbers he carried into Thursday's series opener at PNC Park.
Here are those numbers anyway: Through his first 13 games last year, Segura had four extra base hits and a .367/.404/.510 slash line, thanks in part to a .415 average on balls in play. Through his first 13 games this year, Segura has two extra-base hits, including a hustle double in the Brewers' just-completed series against the Cardinals, and was slashing .241/.281/.315 while hitting only .285 on balls in play.
It's a small sample, for sure, but one statistic stands out: A whopping 77.3 percent of Segura's balls in play through Wednesday were ground balls -- the highest percentage among Major League regulars -- and he batted .118 (5-for-34) on those grounders.
"I feel it, too," Segura said with a shrug and a laugh. "But it's OK. I'm going to come back. I'm not worried about it. I know the numbers are going to come, and every player is different in each year of his career. I just need a couple hits. It's not like I'm 0-for-20, 0-for-30. Just a few games of struggle is normal. It's OK.
"It's just taking some time in my second season here. We're working on it. I wish it wasn't taking so long to get where we want to be."
Might it be taking longer because Segura, for the first time in years, did not play winter ball in the Dominican Republic? The Brewers exercised their right to block his participation because Segura was coming off the most grueling year of his baseball life, and had faded significantly after the All-Star break
"I don't know," he said. "I don't want to tell you yes, but I don't want to tell you no, either. So I don't know.
"The only way you figure it out is by playing. I mean, I think with my speed and getting smarter in this game, I know what I need to do. I know what it takes to get to where I was at the beginning of last year, but it takes some time. We've only played  games and we have more than five months to go."