Segura providing spark D-backs needed

Segura providing spark D-backs needed

PHOENIX -- D-backs second baseman Jean Segura dove headfirst to first base for an infield single in the eighth inning on Friday against the Pirates, and he landed so hard that he had his wind knocked out.

Nobody was surprised with the effort.

Earlier this month at Dodger Stadium, Segura launched his body to rob a base hit for the third out of the fourth inning and made it look easy. He has been prone to making a strong throw from deep in the hole behind second base to remind everyone that he was indeed a shortstop and still has the arm to prove it.

Segura's diving catch

This is what he does.

Segura is the club's leadoff hitter, but he's also its "chispa," the Spanish word for "spark." There is more than one way to contribute on the field, the infielder likes to say, but he only has one speed: full.

Segura's aggressive style does not come without risk. He went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in his first six at-bats Sunday's 12-10 loss to the Pirates. It also comes with rewards. Segura tied the game at 10 with an RBI single in the 12th in his seventh at-bat.

"This is an organization that likes players like me," Segura said. "You see a guy like [Paul Goldschmidt] running the bases hard, stealing bases and always aggressive. This team values that approach, and as a team, it's something we try to do."

Segura ranks among Major League leaders in hits, three-hit games, multi-hit games, hits and total bases. Segura's 28 hits in the first 20 games of the season are the most for the D-backs since Justin Upton had 28 in 2008.

He is hitting .324 with five RBIs in his last seven games. He's hitting .367 at Chase Field this season.

"When [D-backs general Dave Stewart] made that trade, people were saying, 'Why are we doing this?' and 'Why are we doing that?' But we all knew the potential he had, whether it was at short or at second," manager Chip Hale said. "We knew the offensive intangibles he would bring to us at the top of the order, and we needed it, so it's been huge."

Overall, Segura has made 17 of his 19 starts this season at second base. He is hitting .329 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. He's stolen three bases. Segura hit a leadoff home run and later hit an inside-the-park home run in the same game against the Cubs on April 7.

Segura's inside-the-park homer

Segura's next stolen base will be the 100th of his career.

"As a player, I want the fans to see the best in me," Segura said. "I want fans to go home and say, 'Wow, he has passion and he loves baseball.' I want to be a good example for the kids. Every parent likes to take kids to a stadium, and kids want to be like the best. I want to be that."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.