Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Phillies News

Segura 'felt good' during first game at 3B

Phillies infielder: 'The more I play there, the more I'll get used to it'
@ToddZolecki
February 23, 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jean Segura had never played third base before he played there Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Field. So, how did it feel? Segura smiled. Then he laughed. “Ah, it felt good,” he said during a 4-3 victory over the Pirates. “It felt a little weird, but not too

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jean Segura had never played third base before he played there Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Field.

So, how did it feel? Segura smiled. Then he laughed.

“Ah, it felt good,” he said during a 4-3 victory over the Pirates. “It felt a little weird, but not too much. It felt OK. Not too bad. I was just rushing a little bit, trying to catch everything. I think the more I play there, the more I’ll get used to it."

Everyone knows the deal by now. The Phillies signed Didi Gregorius to a one-year, $14 million contract in December. He will be the Phillies' starting shortstop. The team is using Spring Training to figure out where Segura and Scott Kingery will play. Ideally, Segura handles third base and Kingery plays second, which is his best position. But if Segura cannot handle third, Kingery will play there. The Phillies hope to have that answer sooner than later, which is why Segura will play primarily third base during the first few weeks of Grapefruit League games.

“He’s said all along, ‘I can play second in my sleep,’” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Segura. “He’s done it. This is the trickier one for him.”

It showed at times Sunday. Segura got his glove on the ball seven times against the Pirates and made five plays. He charged a ball moving to his left in the first inning, but it hopped under his glove for an infield single. Pirates first baseman Jose Osuna then hit a ball that deflected off Segura’s glove and into left field in the third for an RBI single.

In the future, Segura, who was moving to his left, lets Gregorius make that play.

“I should have let that ball go by. But right now, I feel like I just want to catch everything,” Segura said.

Girardi said he liked Segura at third.

“I think a lot of it is learning which balls to go after and which balls not to,” the Phillies' first-year skipper said. “As a shortstop, you're used to going after everything, right? Understanding that communication between him and Didi, where Didi's at and where he's at, that will come.

"But I was pleased. I mean, you see the plays. The plays don't look hard for him. It's the reads that he's got to get accustomed to. Like the double play, it's an easy turn. The throw to first, it's easy for him. But that ball that was to his left that he tipped, maybe that's one that he lets go as he understands where Didi is. It's just communication. But I think he looks really good.”

Segura had the best season of his career at the plate in 2016 while he played second base with Arizona. Second base is where he is most comfortable. But so far, he is saying the right things about playing third.

Girardi said he believes Segura is into it.

“I think him and Didi are together a lot and they're always smiling together,” Girardi said. “I think he's embraced it. I think he's handled it the way that any manager or organization would hope that a player would handle a position change for a time being. Jean's been great.

“I think [buying in is] a lot of the battle. Because he has the hands, he has the quickness, he has the range, he has the arm. He has all that. But it's embracing it. If you make a wrong read, it's not being embarrassed and saying, 'OK, I learned from that.' That sort of thing. I think it's probably true for any position change. You think, well, you've got to catch it and throw it. It's different. The hops are different, the reads are different, it's quicker. You have to understand what you have to do.”

Said Segura: “It’s my first game at third in my career, but I feel good. So far, I’m where I need to be. I think I’ll be fine. When you play shortstop at the big league level, I think third base is not a big deal to play.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .