Seitzer has front-row seat for son's home run
Minor Leaguer, and son of Blue Jays hitting coach, has two-run blast for Rays
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- A nice father-son moment took place Friday afternoon when Rays Minor Leaguer Cameron Seitzer homered in front of his father, Kevin, the former Major Leaguer as well as the new Blue Jays hitting coach.
Seitzer's blast came in the ninth inning of the Rays' 6-3 win over the Blue Jays when he connected on a 2-0 pitch from Todd Redmond and deposited the ball on the other side of the right-field wall.
"Yeah, I hit it pretty good," Seitzer said. "I was excited it got up in the air as much as it did."
Seitzer could not help looking at the Toronto dugout for his father upon finishing his trip around the bases.
"He was clapping for me," Seitzer said. "When I stepped on home plate I winked at him. It was a good time."
Kevin Seitzer could enjoy his son's work a little more because his damage came during the Grapefruit League.
"It was good," the elder Seitzer said. "Spring Training's different than regular season. He does it against us during the regular season I'm not going to be happy, but it's just fun getting to watch your son play.
"It was a special moment that [Rays manager] Joe [Maddon] was able to provide for me that I really appreciated. I thought it was a real classy move by him to bring him along. He's in Minor League camp, just have him come over and let me watch him play, was pretty cool."
Once Seitzer entered the game as the Rays' first baseman in the bottom of the fifth, Toronto manager John Gibbons had his hitting coach replace Tim Leiper as first-base coach.
"Gibby told me to go out and coach first base in the first inning of defense; that was cool," Kevin Seitzer said. "...He goes, 'What's up pops?' I go, 'Hello bud.' That was pretty cool."
Gibbons managed to enjoy the moment as well.
"I made the comment to Kevin, 'Now if we can get a few of our own hitters to hit those as opposed to his own son, we'd be better off,'" Gibbons said.
Before the game, Seitzer made his way to the Blue Jays' side of the field to pose with his father for a picture.
"I went over there real quick, the national anthem was coming, I just wanted to get a quick picture with Dad," said Seitzer, who allowed that the home run provided a better moment.
When asked if the home run gave him bragging rights in the family, Seitzer, with a glow locked on his face, said, "Definitely not."
"Dad's their hitting coach, and he's taught me everything I know," Seitzer said.
The Rays drafted Seitzer out of the University of Oklahoma in the 11th round of the 2011 June Draft. He spent last season at Double-A Montgomery, where he hit .268 with six home runs and 61 RBIs.
Kevin Seitzer offered an evaluation of his son, who now has two home runs in four at-bats this spring.
"He's really swinging the bat well," he said. "He has put on about 12 pounds since last year. That's helped his hand speed and his power. His power was the last thing he really needed to add. Being 6-5 and a first baseman, he hadn't hit for power yet. But he has always been a late bloomer, even when he was young growing up.
"He didn't start getting a baseball-type body until he was in college. He was 185 pounds his freshman year, and when he signed he was about 215. His hand speed is getting there; he works out really hard. It's nice seeing the ball get some more carry now, just not against us."
Seitzer found out Thursday that he would be making the trip to play the Blue Jays. The Rays will return to Dunedin on Wednesday, and Seitzer does not yet know if he will be with them.
"We'll see what's in store," Seitzer said. "I'm not in charge of that."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.