Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Cameron Seitzer homers in front of coach-of-Jays dad

DUNEDIN — Rays minor-league 1B Cameron Seitzer was excited just to make the trip Friday to Dunedin for the chance to play for the first time against his father, Kevin, the Jays' new hitting coach, and posed for a pregame picture.

The home run he hit in the ninth inning of the Rays' 6-3 win made for an even better memory.

"It was a pretty cool experience," said Cameron, a 2011 draftee who played at Double A last season. "Just go out there and play, try to show these guys what I can do for the Rays, and go out there and have fun and show Dad what I've been doing."

Kevin, who had worked previously for the Royals and Diamondbacks, saw a few of Cameron's games last season but never from the opposing dugout. He acknowledged his son's effort with a tip of his cap.

"He was clapping for me when I stepped on home plate, and I winked at him," Cameron said. "It was a good time."

Seitzer has taken advantage of his two spring appearances, hitting a ninth-inning tying homer March 1.

QUICK REPLAY: The Rays' first experience with baseball's new replay system was quick and uneventful.

Toronto manager John Gibbons questioned a fairly clear out call at first base in the bottom of the ninth, the umpires agreed to have it reviewed and it was quickly upheld.

"I thought they handled that really well," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "What'd it take, a minute maybe?"

Maddon said the Rays didn't make any special arrangements to monitor the video in the clubhouse, as they will do during the regular season.

ALEX THE GREAT: No. 2 starter Alex Cobb was sharp for the second spring start, allowing only two singles while working into the fourth against the Jays' top hitters, getting seven ground ball outs.

"They had a really good lineup up there, so I just really wanted to go out and pitch, execute some pitches and get some ground ball outs," he said.

Cobb said it was important to work with new C Ryan Hanigan for the first time in game situations, having gotten "closer and closer to being on the same page" during bullpen sessions.

POWER BALL: OF Kevin Kiermaier is more confident and comfortable in camp after making his big-league debut in Game 163, and it's showing as he singled off LHP Mark Buehrle and homered, giving him a .364 spring average.

"Everything he is doing is better," Maddon said.

Kiermaier is most likely headed to Triple-A Durham so he can play every day and continue developing.

His homer routine could use work, as he started racing around the bases. He said he lost the ball and didn't know it was out until he saw an umpire signal. "That was a relief," he said. "I don't hit home runs enough to know when I really get one or not."

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (5-1-1) took a 4-0 lead and hung on for their fifth straight win. … RHP Brandon Gomes, showing off an impressive new cutter he picked up last year from ex-Ray Jamey Wright, had a third straight scoreless outing. … RHP Nathan Karns, after a couple of days rest because of left-side soreness, worked two innings, allowing one hit. "Everything was down," Maddon said. "He has a great angle and is really on top of the ball." … RHP Brad Boxberger worked out of a bases-loaded jam, allowing one run.

Warning, code blue: Maddon correctly predicted the rise of the Red Sox. Friday, he touted the Blue Jays: "The team that's really interesting to me is this one, because nobody it talking about Toronto this year."

MISCELLANY: SS Hak-Ju Lee was replaced in the lineup so Sean Rodriguez could get some at-bats after Thursday's rainout, then wasn't allowed to play anyway because he forgot his knee brace, Maddon said.

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