For the first time in his professional career, Phillies infielder Jean Segura played third base on Sunday afternoon in a Grapefruit League exhibition game against the Pirates. As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki notes, Segura made five of seven plays at the hot corner.
Since the Phillies signed shortstop Didi Gregorius during the offseason, Segura had to shift to a new position. Second base and third base are both open, and the club will use spring training to determine which position Segura and Scott Kingery will play. Segura will primarily play third base in the first half of the spring training schedule. The hope is that he will stick there.
Segura said of playing third base on Sunday, “Ah, it felt good. 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.”
Segura, who is signed through at least 2022, had a disappointing season in his first year with the Phillies in 2019. He hit .280/.323/.420 with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, 79 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases across 618 plate appearances.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.