The leg kick he’d implemented only threw off his timing and weighed down his performance. And at some point in August, the pain in right shoulder that kept him from putting his full force behind his throws from the outfield became too much to bear.
“It just kept getting worse and worse,” Segedin recalled on Tuesday after the Thunder’s game with the Double-A Blue Jays. “I wasn’t really able to get full range of motion in my arm. I decided to say something in case something big was going on.”
The doctors who looked at him found tendinitis at three different spots in his shoulder, as well as an enlarged acromion bone, which he says can be treated fairly easily through preventative exercises.
He finished his rehabilitation work toward the beginning of November and says he has a clean bill of health heading into this season. That’s good, because after his showing with Trenton last season, he could use a blank slate.
In 48 games with the Thunder, Segedin, a native of Teaneck, hit just .188/.253/.279 with three longballs and 13 RBIs. That’s hardly what you’re looking for out of someone who bounces between both corner outfield positions, which is what the natural third baseman found himself doing last season.
He won’t have to worry about the outfield this year. Instead, the Yankees decided in January to switch him back to the hot corner. Whether that’s because of the presence of Ramon Flores this season or because Segedin didn’t take to his new role as easily as his bosses would have liked is unclear, but the result is the same.
And although he wasn’t out of place in the outfield, he admitted on Tuesday that he wasn’t always entirely comfortable with his new position. That held especially true in left field, where he had particular issues measuring the slice on a fly ball from a left-handed hitter.
Compound both problems, and what you get is a player looking to prove he can hold his own at the upper levels.
“I feel comfortable there,” said Segedin, who arrived in Tampa in mid-January to give himself a quick refresher course on the infield. “I’ve played there my whole life, so it wasn’t that much of an adjustment period.”
With that out of the way, he can focus entirely on returning his offense to where it was with Tampa, when he hit .297/.362/.448 with seven bombs and 41 RBIs through the season’s first 73 games.
He blames a mechanical change, which was installed during his time at Tampa, for his woes with Trenton.
“Before I came up, I was experimenting with a leg kick,” he explained. “Now that’s gone. I’m keeping my feet on the ground the whole time. I got into a hole and just never got out of it. It was mostly on me. The pitchers are obviously better up there, but it wasn’t like I was overmatched.”
If changes to his approach and a return to third base help bring Segedin’s numbers to their slugging norm, then what is shaping up to be a powerful Thunder lineup will gain that much more juice.
NOTES: The Thunder and the Fisher Cats tied on Tuesday at the Himes Complex, 3-3. The game was halted after nine innings at the request of the managers. … Alex Smith, Tommy Kahnle, Dan Burawa and Matt Bashore each tossed two innings, and Edison Mejia pitched the ninth. Of those five, only Kahnle and Burawa are expected to open at Double-A. Kahnle struck out three with a combination of mid-90s gas and a mid-80s slider. Burawa, who missed all of last season with a torn abdominal muscle followed by a cracked rib, hit 95 miles per hour with his fastball. … Tyler Austin, one of the Yankees’ brightest young players, collected two hits, including a double on the first pitch he saw and an RBI single through the middle. … Infielder Jose Rosario hit a game-tying longball in the eighth inning. He is expected to open in extended spring training before returning to Staten Island in June. … Harlan Chamberlain, the father of Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, took in the games. … The Yankees have installed Trackman software, which monitors pitch movement and velocity, on Field 2 at their minor league complex.