Prior to yesterday’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, starting shortstop Jean Segura was scratched from the starting lineup with what the club described as “soreness in (his) right pinky finger.” While there was no indication yesterday that the issue was serious, today the club announced some grave news in regards to their young shortstop.
Segura has obviously undergone some further testing, which revealed the extent of the injury. I myself have fractured my pinky finger (high school wrestling), and had to wear a cast for six weeks while the injury healed. I’m no professional athlete, of course, and hopefully Segura’s injury can heal more quickly than mine did. Segura’s disabled list stint was made retroactive to yesterday, and the earliest he will be eligible to return is 5/28. Generally, fractured fingers take roughly four to six weeks to heal, according to WebMD.
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Unfortunately for the Brewers, the 25 year old Segura had been one of the few bright spots during the team’s dismal 12-23 start to the 2015 season. After a tough season on and off the field in 2014, Segura worked during the winter to make some subtle changes to his approach at the plate, and so far they have been working. This year, Jean has slashed .262/.306/.373 in 135 plate appearances, raising his OPS by 65 points over his 2014 season. After hitting just 25 extra base hits last year, Segura has been driving the ball much better this season, using the whole field en route to being well on pace to out-slug his XBH totals from last year. Though Segura has had some issues with errant throws this season, he has proven over the past few seasons is an above average defender at shortstop. All told, Segura has been valued at 0.5 Wins Above Replacement so far in 2015, after posting just 0.6 WAR last season.
To replace Segura on the active roster, the Brewers have announced they will recall INF Luis Sardinas from AAA Colorado Springs before tomorrow’s game. The soon to be 22 year old Sardinas was acquired from the Texas Rangers during this past offseason as a part of the Yovani Gallardo trade. Luis, a switch hitter, made his major league debut last season for the Rangers, slashing .261/.303/.313 in 125 plate appearances with six extra base hits. While there are questions about how Sardinas’ bat will play at the major league level, his defense is his calling card. Fangraphs rates his throwing at 60 (on the 20-80 scale) and his overall fielding at 60, and he has the ability to make tough plays look routine while playing shortstop. Sardinas has had a strong year so far at AAA, slashing .288/324/.386 with 10 extra base hits in 32 games.
In addition to Sardinas, the Brewers have both Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera on their bench and capable of manning shortstop. Herrera has been hot as of late, homering in three straight games before going 1-4 with a single yesterday. Gomez has been solid this season as well, slashing .241/.267/.448 with eight extra base hits in 62 plate appearances.
The injury to Segura couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Brewers, who are attempting to determine the direction of their season under new manager, Craig Counsell. The team has been playing better of late, going 5-5 in their recent home stand. The Brewers will start a series on the road tomorrow against the New York Mets, who at 20-14 are leading the NL East. The Mets have reportedly been in the market for an upgrade at shortstop, and they have been linked to Jean Segura already this season. This series would have been a perfect opportunity for New York to scout Segura up close, possibly greasing the wheels for a deal a little later on in the season.
With Milwaukee sitting at 12-23, entering the trade season as sellers seems like the most likely scenario at this point, and Doug Melvin has expressed a willingness to be “open to anything.” Though it doesn’t appear that the team is particularly motivated to trade Segura, he is one of the most desirable assets on the team, with one source saying Milwaukee fields calls on him almost daily. Hopefully Jean Segura can return to the field sooner rather than later, where he can resume his productive season and continue to boost his trade value.
The Brewers will have an off day today before starting a ten game road trip tomorrow, beginning with a three game set in New York against the Mets. Kyle Lohse (2-4, 7.03 ERA) is scheduled to take on the ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon (6-1, 3.30 ERA).