Roenicke urges Segura to stay aggressive at leadoff
PHOENIX -- Second-year Brewers shortstop Jean Segura batted leadoff in the team's Cactus League opener Thursday, a good indication that he's indeed the leading candidate to replace Norichika Aoki.
Segura mostly batted second behind Aoki last season, but Aoki was traded to the Royals over the winter. Segura batted first only twice last season.
"He's not the typical guy to do it because he's aggressive," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's a swinger. I talked this morning to him about it a little bit. I don't want him to change because I put him in the leadoff spot.
"That goes with everybody. When I put them in different spots in the lineup, I just want guys to hit. We move them around sometimes for necessity, and it doesn't mean you hit fourth and all of a sudden you have to start swinging for the fence. [Segura] is a guy that's aggressive and needs to stay that way or there's too much mental thought going on, and he won't produce."
Segura did produce in 2013, finishing the season with a team-best .294 batting average and running second in the National League with 44 stolen bases. He made the NL All-Star team with a huge first half before wearing down in August and September.
His on-base percentage ended at a relatively modest .329, and Segura's highest walk total in the Minor Leagues was 45, in 581 plate appearances at the Class A level in 2010. He worked a walk to lead off Thursday's 11-3 win over the A's before scoring on Ryan Braun's first-inning home run, then added two more hits, including a double, before calling it a day.
"I think he's OK with [moving to leadoff]," Roenicke said. "He's probably a little better second, and the next couple of days, maybe we'll put him second. I'm going to move him around. … What I like is he's comfortable enough now to come in here and we'll talk about things. He's a very honest guy. Some guys don't quite tell me everything, and he's quite honest. It's not that guys will lie to me, they just won't tell me."