MILWAUKEE — All things considered, Jean Segura could have been in much worse shape Sunday afternoon.
The Milwaukee Brewers shortstop seems to have escaped serious injury after getting hit inadvertently by a Ryan Braun warm-up swing Saturday. With no concussion and no fracture, Segura feels fortunate to only have suffered a cut under his right eye.
"It was a scary moment for me," Segura said following Milwaukee’s 4-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. "I thought it was something worse, I thought it was a fracture, or broken something. A concussion, because when it happened I just couldn’t feel anything. That sting in my head, it was a scary moment for me.
"Today, I feel much better and thank God nothing was worse."
Segura said he never saw Braun’s swing as he was heading toward the dugout steps to come out onto the on-deck circle prior to the bottom of the first inning.
The right side of his face was swollen Sunday, but his eye was not swollen shut. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke estimated it still might be a couple of days before Segura returns to Milwaukee’s lineup. Segura said his biggest concern in returning to game action is his ability to see the baseball out of his right eye.
"We’ll see how it feels tomorrow," Segura said. "If it feels good tonight, I’m going to do something on the field, in the cage, or throwing or something. We’ll see how many days it’s going to take."
Without Segura and Braun in the lineup, Milwaukee’s offense was completely shut down by Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel. On a roll to start the season, Hammel took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just three hits over seven scoreless innings.
Signed to a one-year, $6 million deal by the Cubs this winter after he struggled to a 4.97 ERA in 2013 with Baltimore, Hammel improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.08 with Sunday’s performance.
Right-handed batters came in hitting .091 against Hammel this season, and Brewers right-handed hitters went 2-for-17 against him Sunday. Because he pitches for a last-place team, Hammel’s start to 2014 has flown under the radar.
"I’m not that familiar with him either," Roenicke said. "We saw him a little bit with Colorado. That was really good. He’s got a really good fastball that he spots well. His two breaking ball pitches are really good. His slider and curveball are really good pitches. He mixed in a couple change-ups but those three pitches, spotting the ball, that was a good outing."
Roenicke estimated Braun’s strained right intercostal muscle will keep the right fielder out 3 to 5 more days, leaving his status for the series in St. Louis up in the air.
While the Brewers still hold the best record in baseball at 18-7 and carry a 4 1/2 game lead in the division, the injuries to two key players and the upcoming seven-game trip to St. Louis and Cincinnati presents Milwaukee with its first bit of adversity on the young season.
The Brewers will face the red-hot Michael Wacha on Monday and then see Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller, two pitchers they always struggle with, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We’ve got to move on," Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay said. "Obviously, we’re going to have ups and downs throughout the season, it’s just a matter of making sure we stick together here and ride it out. I’ve always said that this team is well-balanced, so even when we’re not hitting we can score runs.
"(Sunday) we had one hit (in the first six innings) and we could have scored two runs. Those are things good teams can do. This is putting us to the test, but we’ll rely on our pitching and getting timely hitting."
On the mend: Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Brevard County, as he works his way back from a strained right hamstring.
Placed on the disabled list April 20 retroactive to April 18, Schafer is eligible to return for Saturday’s game in Cincinnati. With the Brewers dealing with Braun’s injury and with a suspension still coming for Carlos Gomez, Schafer’s return will be welcomed.
Schafer began running on his injured hamstring Wednesday, ran the bases on Friday and took batting practice for the first time prior to Saturday night’s game.