Jean Segura good to go

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Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, March 30, 2014

MILWAUKEE—The Jean Segura situation took a dramatic turn for the better Saturday, making it likely he will be in the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting lineup for the season opener Monday against Atlanta at Miller Park.

Segura, who has been sidelined with shoulder soreness, did some throwing from shortstop before the Brewers’ exhibition game against Kansas City and reported no discomfort. He will do some more throwing today, and, barring a setback, the Brewers believe Segura will be ready for the opener.

“It went well,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He made maybe 10 or 15 throws (from shortstop), and he felt good about it. The last couple, he put a little on them. He feels like he can go.”

Segura has not played in a major-league exhibition game since March 18. Accordingly, if necessary, the Brewers could backdate a 15-day DL stint 10 days into spring training, meaning Segura would only miss the first five days of the season, which covers four games.

After the opening three-game series vs. Atlanta, however, the Brewers play three games in Boston, where Segura could serve as designated hitter to rest his shoulder if necessary.

Asked how the shoulder felt after the throwing drill, Segura said, “It feels much better. Much better.”

Segura will be examined again Sunday morning by team physician William Raasch. The Brewers must submit their opening day roster by 2 p.m., and at this point it appears Segura will be on it.

“The medical side wants to make sure that we’re doing the smart thing,” said Roenicke. “‘Seggy’ feels like he can do it. He’ll get checked out in the morning and then take some more ground balls at short. I’m definitely more positive, and he is too.

“He feels good. He looks happy about it. I think he was pleased by what happened today. With some of it, he probably needs to be smart. In ball games, if he’s got a relay throw or if he’s back in the hole (fielding a grounder), just don’t get crazy. The normal plays should be fine.”

Impressive spring

Right-hander Marco Estrada finished an impressive spring with five shutout innings in the Brewers’ 7-2 victory over the Royals. Estrada allowed two hits and no walks with four strikeouts and finished the exhibition season with 17 scoreless innings and a 2.16 ERA.

“It’s a good way to go into the season,” said Estrada. “Now I just have to transfer it over to the season and do it when it matters. Not to say spring doesn’t matter, but it is more that you are working on stuff. Now you move on to the season, and hopefully it carries over.

“You want to get going. You want things to matter. We all need spring training, but the season is where it is at. The team is feeling good. We’re very optimistic this year. We have a great staff, great lineup, everybody is healthy right now. That’s a good thing. That’s the way you want to start.”

“He’s been outstanding,” Roenicke said of Estrada. “We feel great going into the season with him. Those guys always hit well in spring training; they’re a good lineup anyway but in spring training they kill the ball. But Estrada, every time he pitches against them, he really does a nice job. It’s because he locates so well and changes speeds so well.”

Fourth outfielder Logan Schafer went 3 for 4 with a walk and two RBI and finished the spring with a .379 batting average. Right fielder Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 and finished at .417 with a .500 OBP. Jonathan Lucroy doubled in two runs in the third off hard-throwing Royals starter Yordano Ventura. Minor-league outfielder Michael Ratterree, the reigning Pioneer League MVP, socked a home run in the seventh inning.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and left the Brewers with a 13-18 record in exhibition play.

“It was a real good ball game, starting with Estrada,” said Roenicke. “The pitching was great and we scored some runs.”

Center fielder Carlos Gomez was absent from the ballpark but for a very good reason. His wife, Gerandy, gave birth to a son, Yadiel, the couple’s second child.

Fitting in

The surprise of spring training was 21-year-old left-hander Wei Chung Wang, the Rule 5 draft pick who captured a spot in the bullpen with a strong showing. In nine appearances, Wang fashioned a 3.86 ERA with no walks and seven strikeouts in 14 innings.

Beyond his performance on the field, the native of Taiwan has fit in the clubhouse despite the language barrier and his quiet demeanor.

“He’s fit in great; he’s been awesome,” said right-hander Yovani Gallardo. “Obviously, he doesn’t say much, but he’s starting to understand we have fun. That’s one of the reasons we have a great clubhouse. We have fun, we joke around, yet when it’s time to take care of business he understands he has to get his work done and do whatever he has to do to go out there and perform and get guys out.”

Gallardo said it has been impressive to watch how Wang handles himself on the mound, considering he never had pitched above the rookie-ball level.

“The way he pitches, he’s nice and calm, relaxed. He throws the ball over the plate. That’s very important. We’ve enjoyed watching him. He has handled it very well. It shows he can control what he wants to do.”

Peralta to simulate

To stay on schedule for his first start in the fifth game of the season, right-hander Wily Peralta will throw a simulated game Sunday at Miller Park. Teams are not allowed to hold formal workouts that day but Peralta will simulate five innings or so against minor-leaguers who made the trip with the team for the exhibition games here.

To allow Peralta to sit down between his innings pitched and simulate a real game, minor-league lefty Brad Mills will face hitters as well. Segura also will get at-bats in that game to stay sharp at the plate.

Putting it together

After some rough outings earlier in the exhibition season, closer Jim Henderson finished strong with three consecutive scoreless appearances. That stretch made Henderson (6.00 ERA overall) feel better about his spring as well as Roenicke.

“He’s getting better every outing,” said Roenicke. “He needs to continue to get back to where he was last year. The next one will mean something, and hopefully he will be right there.”

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