KANSAS CITY -- A terrific start to his first season in Double-A led shortstop prospect Jean Segura to Sunday's SiriusXM Futures Game, where he went 2-for-3 as the leadoff hitter and starting second baseman for the World Team at Kauffman Stadium.Getting selected to the annual All-Star showcase means the Angels think highly of Segura. What his future holds with the organization, though, is still unclear. The Angels signed second baseman Howie Kendrick to a four-year extension in January, then signed shortstop Erick Aybar to a deal that runs through 2016 in mid-April, leaving Segura without a clear path to the big leagues.
"I was happy for him because he deserves it," Segura, speaking in Spanish, said of Aybar, his good friend and mentor. "He's worked really hard for that. He won a Gold Glove and I feel very good for him. That's the reality of baseball, too. You never know where you're going to end up. You play for one team, but there's 29 others watching you and you never know."Segura has lived up to expectations at Double-A Arkansas, posting a .287/.333/.404 slash line to go along with seven homers, 37 RBIs and 30 stolen bases while continuing to play shortstop. At least equally important, the 22-year-old right-handed hitter has stayed healthy, playing in 82 of 85 games one season after debilitating hamstring issues limited him to 52 games. "That's the most important thing for me, to finish the year healthy," said Segura, the Angels' top-rated prospect. "Because they know that I can play, so I just need to prove to them I can stay on the field for 130, 140 games." Question is: Does it really matter what he proves to the Angels? With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching, the Angels possibly trying to shore up holes in their pitching staff and Segura being a highly rated prospect with no opening on the Major League club, he could be dangled. That's a reality Segura understands. "This is a business," he said, "and if you do your job and do it well, you'll find your way somewhere." Segura was joined at the Futures Game by Double-A teammate Ariel Pena, a late fill-in for Rockies lefty Edwar Cabrera, who was called up to the Majors. Like Segura, Pena has starred in his first year of Double-A, posting a 2.95 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP as one of few standout pitching prospects in the Angels' system. But Pena really struggled while pitching the bottom of the sixth. He allowed the first five batters to reach, gave up seven hits -- three of them doubles -- threw a wild pitch, walked a batter, was charged with eight earned runs and only got one out before his exit. The U.S. Team would plate nine runs that inning. "I wasn't nervous," Pena said in Spanish. "If I was nervous, I would've said it. My pitches were just up. I had a hard time throwing low in the strike zone."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.