Angels Shift Segura To Shortstop





ANAHEIM The Angels' top shortstop prospect has never played a game at shortstop in the minor leagues. Until this season, that is.

The Angels loved how Jean Segura flourished in 2010, his first full minor league season, hitting .313/.365/.464 at low Class A Cedar Rapids. Midwest League managers selected him as the league's best defensive second baseman. The Angels tried him at shortstop in instructional league and spring training with manager Mike Scioscia and the other decision-makers watching.

When the Angels broke camp, Segura was a shortstop. He reported to high Class A Inland Empire.

"We know what we have at second base," Angels farm director Abe Flores said. "It's a way-above-average second baseman. He really does have a chance to be an above-average shortstop."

Baseball America ranks Segura, a 21-year-old Dominican who signed with Los Angeles in January 2007, as the Angels' top infield prospect—and the only middle infielder among the top 16 prospects. The Angels also like Alexi Amarista at second, and they want to use this season to determine whether Segura might be a viable option at shortstop.

The Angels discussed whether to flip Segura between second base and shortstop during the season. With the input of Gary DiSarcina, the former Angels all-star shortstop and newly hired assistant to general manager Tony Reagins—the Angels decided to leave him at shortstop this summer and see whether he takes to the position.

And if not? "He'll still be close to the top of the scale—well-above-average—at second base," Flores said.

ANGEL FOOD

• Catcher Hank Conger, 23, the team's first-round pick in 2006, broke camp with the Angels for the first time and hit his first major league home run in his first at-bat of the season.

• Righthander Jordan Walden, 23, the Angels' 12th-round pick in 2006, replaced veteran Fernando Rodney as the major league closer.