TRENTON, NJ – It took just one lunge to derail what was shaping up to be a breakout season for Trenton Thunder third baseman Rob Segedin. A former third-round pick out of Tulane in the 2010 Amateur Draft, Segedin dove for a ground ball in a game last April, only to feel something not quite right in his hip when he came up. He finished the game, but after an MRI the next day, his season was over.
After hitting just .188 with three home runs over 48 games in his first stint with the Thunder in 2012, Segedin was leading the team with a .338 batting average at the time of his injury and appeared well on his way to establishing himself as one of the best hitters in the system.
Now, a fully healthy Segedin returns to Trenton to start the 2014 season after resolving the tightness in his hip that has plagued him since high school.
“It was more of like tightness and stiffness,” Segedin said when describing what the hip had felt like for years. “I was always big, so I figured it had something to do with me being a big guy.”
“Since I got the surgery, and post-surgery the way I feel, I know it was definitely something that was wrong with me for a large part of my life,” Segedin added.
With the big league club having succumbed to injuries at third base last year, one would believe that Segedin’s early season injury was a missed opportunity. Just don’t tell him that. Segedin revealed that it was more of a blessing in disguise.
“At first, obviously when you see the guys up there struggling when I was playing well, you think it's a missed opportunity,” Segedin said on Thursday. “But based on the results and how I feel now, it's definitely a blessing in disguise. I feel better than I've ever felt before in my life.”
Segedin’s rehab from hip surgery went so well that he was able to participate in spring training this year without restrictions. The 25-year-old noted that he stayed in Tampa rehabbing until Thanksgiving, and by the time he returned in February, the training staff was ready to let him loose.
“I stayed [in Tampa] into November…it was a pretty smooth recovery, there was no setbacks,” said Segedin. “Our training staff was pretty comfortable with me coming to spring training being full go. Usually, a lot of guys coming off surgery, they kind of ease them back into it. This spring training, I was a full participant, just like I never even had an injury.”
Because Segedin was fully healthy for spring training, he was able to spend most of his time focusing on his development. Even though he spent his spring working exclusively at third base, Segedin possesses the versatility to play all four corner positions. Though he has one of the better bats in the New York Yankees farm system, Segedin recognizes that it is his ability to play three or four positions is what may someday get him to the major leagues.
“If you look at the Yankees who've made it up [from the minor leagues], outside of Cano, even Gardner played all the outfield positions,” Segedin noted. “There's not really many guys who go up there and have a position set for them. You have to have that versatility. I can play a little outfield, I can play a little first base, and hopefully that versatility is something where I can use to my advantage.”
That versatility, coupled with the increased mobility Segedin has seen from his repaired hip, should help him make the jump to Triple-A at some point this summer. Provided his hip truly feels as good as he claims, Segedin could be a sleeper candidate for a breakout year and may even be able to put himself on the radar as a legitimate contender for a spot in New York by next spring.