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Segura improving, targeting return tonight

Versatile veteran Romine stepping up in shortstop's absence
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

BOSTON -- Jean Segura sat out a fourth straight game Sunday with an infected right forearm, but the Mariners expect their hot-hitting shortstop to be back in the lineup Monday to start a four-game series in Baltimore.

Segura had the infection drained by a doctor on Friday, but it was still limiting his ability to throw and swing a bat.

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BOSTON -- Jean Segura sat out a fourth straight game Sunday with an infected right forearm, but the Mariners expect their hot-hitting shortstop to be back in the lineup Monday to start a four-game series in Baltimore.

Segura had the infection drained by a doctor on Friday, but it was still limiting his ability to throw and swing a bat.

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"He is feeling quite a bit better," manager Scott Servais said prior to Sunday's series finale with the Red Sox. "He'll probably be available today off the bench if we need him late. But he wasn't feeling quite comfortable yet throwing the ball across the diamond yesterday. He does feel better. He has a little more energy, pep in his step, whatever you want to call it. We'll give him one more day."

On Saturday, Segura took ground balls at shortstop in pregame work, but then just flipped the ball underhand to a nearby teammate. But Sunday, the 28-year-old was making the throw to first during infield work with coach Manny Acta.

Segura said the infection caused a pinching sensation, like someone tugging at the bat when he was swinging. He did some light swinging in the cage on Saturday, but that figures to be the last remaining issue.

"He felt it bothered him a little bit," Servais said. "We want to be smart with this thing. It's tough not putting him in there, he's been such a big part of our team. But I think it's the right thing to do."

Segura was third in MLB in batting with a .334 average heading into Sunday's games and has been a driving force in the Mariners' offense all season. Andrew Romine has started in his place, and while the veteran utility man is hitting under .200, he's heated up at the plate with the more consistent playing time.

"It's been a long time coming, but good for him," Servais said. "He's put a few balls in play and found some holes, which he needed to. Romey always does a good job defensively and his head is always in the game."

Romine signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with Seattle this past offseason and Servais appreciates how he's fit into the team, while acknowledging the offensive improvement is needed.

"The versatility is the big thing," Servais said. "And he is prepared. Some guys, when they're in that role, they just hang out on the bench and all a sudden you say, 'Hey, get loose, you're in the game,' and they panic.' He's stretching. He knows. He's managing the game along with myself.

"He understands when he might show up in a game, whether it's pinch-run or go play first base or he's in the outfield. There's a lot of value in that. Unless you're around our club every day, you really don't see it. But I say all that and you still have to produce a little offensively and be more productive there. I'm really happy he's gotten a few knocks here in this series. I know it'll relieve him and relax him a little."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Jean Segura