Third in a series of World Baseball Classic retrospectives.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jean Segura joined new Mariners’ double play partner Robinsón Canó in the World Baseball Classic, where the pair served as one of the Dominican Republic’s middle infield combinations. Segura had an exceptional year for the Diamondbacks in 2016, hitting .319 with 203 hits (68 for extra bases), before being traded to the M’s. The 27-year old is one of three Dominican players on Seattle’s roster.
Segura represented his nation at the Classic for the first time, batting .364 as one of three starting shortstops. We spoke with Canó in the second of our series of World Baseball Classic Retrospectives, while Segura also offered us his thoughts on the tournament for this latest retrospective. Audio is available here.
Gabriel Fidler: This is Gabriel Fidler here with Extra Innings, and we’re going to talk to Jean Segura for a few minutes about the World Baseball Classic. Could you reflect about your time in the World Baseball Classic and what is what like coming into a season from that rather than spring training?
Jean Segura: It was a pretty good experience; I’ve never been able to experience the World Baseball Classic. It’s good to represent your country and it was great to be around [some] of the best baseball players for your country and it’s an experience you’re never gonna forget. I didn’t play [as much as] I wanted to, but the couple games I played I enjoy it. Even on the bench, I enjoyed being part of the team. Now, we have to keep moving forward in our minds as a baseball player and as a team.
GF: You mentioned wearing the jersey of your country. You’re a major league player, so you’re used to representing a team, but it’s a bit different when it’s a country. Can you reflect on the type of emotions looking down and seeing your nation imprinted on your chest?
JS: It’s nothing compared to games where you’re representing your country, you’re representing everyone in the Dominican Republic and the team’s emotion becomes the best emotion you’ll ever have because you have 10 or 11 million people watching the game, watching you, because it’s all about the country. It’s not about you personally, it’s not about what you can do, what you can make. It’s all about winning the game and giving it to the country.
GF: You’re on a team now, the Mariners, with a lot of other Dominicans [and] other players that played in the World Baseball Classic. Do you feel like you have a special bond with your new teammates especially the ones that you played for the Dominican Republic with?
JS: Absolutely. When you have guys like that, it makes baseball easy for you because you’re around [some] of the best guys in baseball and what you learn from that is special because they’ve been good in their career and it was amazing to be around guys like that. You want to learn. You want to be here for a long time. You don’t want to be here just for a little while and go home, you want to be here for a long time and be the best you can be.
GF: The team currently has you and Edwin Díaz, both younger [Latinos], and then you have Nelson Cruz and Robinsón, who are veterans who have been around and played for the Dominican a lot. What sort of role have Nelson and Robinsón had as a mentor for you, even this early in your Mariners’ career?
JS: It’s pretty good. Being over here, keeping with the same, keep with family. He [Canó] treats every guys like he is used to being [treated] and to be around those guys is amazing. Now is the time to support our young guys and continue to do what he’s been doing in his career.
GF: Do you feel that you and Robinsón teaming up for a double play combination for the Mariners—do you feel like that’s a noteworthy thing, do you feel that’s an important thing for Dominican baseball fans?
JS: Everything is important. For our society, everything is important and we need to concentrate and win some ballgames. Everything will take care of itself.
GF: In four years, if you’re healthy and given the opportunity, will you play again for the Dominican?
JS: Yeah, absolutely.
GF: Great! I appreciate your time, thanks very much.
Past 2017 World Baseball Classic Retrospectives include:
Robinsón Canó on the World Baseball Classic: “It’s Always Fun”
Jansen on Baseball in Curaçao: “I Never Stop Helping”
All photos are copyright Gabriel Fidler, 2017.