The M’s new shortstop credits his fellow Dominican for helping fix his swing, which led to last year’s breakout season.
The question came from a fan during one of the “Dugout Discussions” at Mariners’ FanFest on Saturday.
Jean Segura was asked: “What was your reaction when you found out you would be playing next to your friend, Robinson Cano?”
Segura broke into a grin and raised his hands over his head, imitating a celebration that was part dance and part hand waving. It drew a roar from the crowd.
The Mariners hope Segura will have fans making similar reactions to his play this season after acquiring him from the Diamondbacks along with outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitcher Zac Curtis in exchange for pitcher Taijuan Walker and last year’s starting shortstop Ketel Marte.
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Coming off a season where he racked up 203 hits, Segura is slotted as the Mariners’ every day shortstop and leadoff or No. 2 hitter depending on that day’s pitcher.
“I think it’s a huge, huge addition to our ballclub,” manager Scott Servais said. “Honestly, we gave up good players to get Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. I think that can’t go unnoticed. Ketel Marte, Taijuan Walker … they’re major league players that are going to have good major-league careers. There is no doubt. But trying to look at where we were at with the ballclub and get the opportunity to bring Jean Segura in here to stabilize shortstop was too good to pass up especially with the offensive year he had last year.”
But it’s the chance to play next to Cano, a fellow Dominican that he’s admired, emulated and leaned on for advice on and off the field the last few seasons, that has Segura so excited.
“I think it’s going to be one of the best moments in my life,” he said.
Segura spent most of last season at second base with Arizona because of a glut of shortstops, but he will move back to his natural position.
“I’ve waited for that moment,” he said. “Last year, the only choice I had was to play second base and as a professional baseball player, you do what you have to do. But I’m a shortstop. I came to the big leagues as a shortstop. I’d played almost four years at shortstop. It’s going to be fun going back to my normal position.”
Segura has spent the offseason working out with Cano in the Dominican Republic.
“We work out together, we practice together,” he said. “We are at his place every day in the offseason.”
Last offseason, he worked with Cano on his swing and it produced a breakout season for him. Segura, who turns 27 on March 17, hit .319 with an .867 on-base plus slugging percentage, 41 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs, 64 RBI and 33 steals in 153 games.
“I thank Robbie for helping me to keep doing what I do in the field,” he said. “I always talk to him about it, how I can be a better player, how I can be better on and off the field. Thank God I made those little adjustments, offseason hitting-wise, and it worked.”