Segura’s return doesn’t mean Sardinas’ time is over
MILWAUKEE — There will be no controversy at shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers for now.
Jean Segura will resume as Milwaukee’s starting shortstop when he returns from the disabled list. He is expected to be activated Friday after missing 14 games with a fractured right little finger.
For the time being, Luis Sardinas will stay in the big leagues, as the Brewers are likely to send out one of their nine relievers in order to begin re-balancing their roster.
Sardinas will not only back up Segura at shortstop, but he will also join the mix at second base with Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera.
"I think Luis will see some time at second base for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He’s going to play some second base, I’ll tell you that. On an everyday basis, I don’t know. But he’s going to play some second base."
A shortstop throughout his time in the minor leagues, Sardinas has big-league experience at second base. The 22-year-old played in 19 games and made 15 starts at second base for the Texas Rangers last season.
With a potential future logjam at shortstop, getting a look at Sardinas at second base could potentially help the Brewers make decisions down the road.
Milwaukee controls the 25-year-old Segura through 2018 and Sardinas through 2020. Orlando Arcia, the organization’s top prospect, is hitting .347 in Double-A, while Yadiel Rivera is hitting .320 since being promoted to Triple-A.
"(Sardinas) has been primarily a shortstop, but he’s played second base in the big leagues; he played second base last year with Texas," Counsell said. "It’s a little new to him, but I think he’ll be fine doing it. I think it’s similar to what we’ve seen with Hector (Gomez). He’s probably played more second base than Hector has with us."
Ranked as a top-100 prospect by MLB.com prior to the 2014 season, Sardinas has shown his smooth fielding ability with outstanding range at shortstop. His defense is still ahead of his offense, but the Venezuelan has hit .263 in his first 160 big-league at-bats with the Rangers and Brewers.
Sardinas collected hits in six of his first 14 at-bats after being called up when Segura went on the disabled list May 15. He has hits in nine of his 12 games, but his average has slipped to .267 after a 2-for-15 stretch.
"He’s done a nice job," Counsell said. "He’s got a bunch of base hits. He clearly has an ability to put the bat on the ball. If you have that ability, you also have the ability to discern the strike zone.
"We’re going to be on him about continuing to get better in the strike zone and being a good two-strike hitter, but he’s shown he has an ability to barrel up any kind of pitcher or pitch. That’s a good sign."
The Brewers have received very little production out of second base, as Opening Day starter Scooter Gennett hit .154 in 21 games before being sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Milwaukee’s second basemen are 29th in Fangraph.com’s offensive runs above average statistic at -14.2 and have a WAR of -0.7.
Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera have covered the position defensively but haven’t provided much offensively. Gomez is hitting just .209, while Herrera is hitting .226 since homering in three straight games in May.
Sardinas likely won’t drastically help Milwaukee’s offensive production at second base, but the second youngest player in the National League has held his own while hitting behind the pitcher in the No. 9 spot.
"We’ve talked about if the eighth spot hitting in front of the pitcher in a traditional lineup is a tough spot to hit in," Counsell said. "You put him in the (ninth) spot, similar to what the Cubs have done with Addison Russell, he’s basically a leadoff hitter when he goes up there for the next time around the lineup. I think it has been a good spot for him."
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