Even amid struggles offensively, Jean Segura finding ways to help Miami Marlins

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It has been a trying first season with the Miami Marlins for Jean Segura. The veteran infielder signed a two-year deal with Miami with the expectation that he would be one of the key contributors in a lineup that needed length.

That hasn’t happened so far, with Segura struggling offensively for the most part through the first two-and-a-half months of the season.

Internally, Segura has been frustrated. It’s an understandable emotion. He was brought in to produce, and he hasn’t.

“This is a tough game that can put you down really quickly,” Segura said. “It’s up to the player how long they’re going to let it kick their [butt].”

And as Segura tries to find any individual victory he can as the season progresses, the team has been there to support him each step of the way. There was his walk-off single against the Chicago Cubs on April 28. There was his game-tying double against the San Diego Padres that set up Nick Fortes’ walk-off hit.

And then there was Sunday, when he hit a ninth-inning home run — the first of his season — to start a three-run rally to help the Marlins clinch their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. This came a day after Segura hit a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth inning. Two games, two big hits.

As the ball sailed over the left-field wall at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Marlins’ dugout went into a frenzy.

They knew what that meant for Segura, who has still been serving as a mentor and doing what he can away from the field to help the Marlins even amid his own individual struggles.

“I’m rallying around him,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “I love it when he hits. I’ll tell you, a lot of guys that were in that funk to start a season would have a different demeanor, a different presence. He has not changed one bit. He’s still one of the leaders inside that clubhouse, in the hitters meetings, helping out the young guys as one of the bigger voices. That’s why everybody was so happy when he hit that home run because that’s how much he means to those guys. They know how much it has been on him and weighing on him, not helping us. He doesn’t think he has [helped], but he’s done other things to help us win some games. So to have a couple big hits lately has been huge, not only for us but for him personally.”

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Segura’s numbers are still far below what he would like. Of 162 qualified hitters throughout MLB, he’s the only one with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage below .500 (.496). He’s one of eight with a batting average below .200 (.192). The 11-year veteran admitted last homestand that the season has been a grind, and that magnifies when not producing.

He’s trying, however, to take each day as its own and find a chance to get going at the plate.

“As a player, you have to find a way out of that stinking environment,” Segura said. “I came to this team with a high responsibility of producing and being the player I have always been in the big leagues. Unfortunately, I have not been able to be that player, but here I am working hard every day, giving my best. It’s very easy to smile and be a good teammate when you’re doing well, but it’s very difficult to be when you’re not doing well.”

Injury updates

Center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (turf toe), who joined the Marlins on the road trip, is running and continuing baseball activities.

Right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto (right biceps) will throw four innings and 60 pitches on Friday in his second rehab assignment outing with Double A Pensacola. Cueto threw 2 2/3 shutout innings on Sunday with Pensacola, working around four hits and a walk.

Trevor Rogers had MRI of right (non-throwing) shoulder but the results have not been revealed yet. He; will be further evaluated.

Right-handed pitcher Sixto Sanchez sustained another setback with his shoulder and once again has stopped his throwing program.

This and that

The Marlins’ 8-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Monday was just the second time in franchise history that they were held to one hit with that hit being a home run. The other: June 26, 2008, against Tampa Bay (Hanley Ramirez hit a home run in a 6-1 loss).

Luis Arraez went 0 for 4 on Monday, snapping his eight-game hit streak and marking just the ninth start this season in which he did not record a hit. He still enters Tuesday leading MLB with a .391 batting average.

The Marlins are 8-14 in series openers this year. They own a winning record on the season in Games 2 (15-6) and 3 (13-8) of a series.