GLENDALE, Ariz.—Two months in the big leagues last season taught Rob Segedin some valuable lessons.
“Experiencing it for two months, having your ups and downs where the league kind of figures out how to pitch you and you adjust . . . it was fun,” said Segedin, 28, who started games at all four corner positions. “And I know I belong up there. But sometimes you’re not there, even though you belong up there.”
Segedin entered camp knowing there probably wasn’t a big league roster spot available— at least to start the season. He had a strong spring anyway. He went 3-for-13 with a home run for Italy in the World Baseball Classic and 13-for-32 (.406) for the Dodgers, thanks to some changes he made during the offseason.
“He’s leaned up. There’s more athleticism,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said “There’s been a little swing change. Last year, he had trouble with the ball on the inner half.”
Segedin’s righthanded swing was already serviceable enough to produce a .319 average, 21 home runs and a Pacific Coast League-leading .598 slugging percentage last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City. After some self-evaluation, he decided he had some work to do.
The Dodgers picked up Segedin from the Yankees in the 2016 trade that sent utility infielder Ronald Torreyes to New York. The Yankees made Segedin a 2010 third-round pick from Tulane.
“At the big league level I was struggling to get the ball in the air,” he said. “The biggest part of that was my swing being too rotational. I was getting out of the zone early and kind of rolling over stuff and hitting a lot of pull-side ground balls.”
Working out in Los Angeles with Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, Segedin took Turner’s swing as a blueprint and added elements to his own, “trying to catch balls out in front of me and really staying linear, staying through the ball.”
• Righthander Josh Ravin aggravated a groin injury late in spring training and will be sidelined for an extended period. He missed time last year with a broken arm suffered in a car accident and served an 80-game drug suspension.
• Righthanders Walker Buehler and Mitchell White generated significant buzz this spring. When White came over from minor league camp to pitch two scoreless innings in a Cactus League game, Roberts called it “eye-opening.”
— Bill Plunkett covers the Dodgers for the Orange County Register