The Toronto Blue Jays filled a hole in their coaching staff Thursday by announcing that former all-star third baseman Kevin Seitzer will serve as the team’s hitting coach next season.
He replaces Chad Mottola, who spent one year in the position after Dwayne Murphy moved from hitting coach to first-base coach after the 2012 campaign.
Seitzer, 51, served as hitting coach for the Kansas City Royals from 2009-12. The 2010 Royals team was second in Major League Baseball with a .274 average and the ‘11 squad was fourth at .275.
“For me the bottom line as far as philosophy and approach is really making consistent hard contact,” Seitzer said on a conference call. “And that’s why the thinking, the plan of hitting the ball in the middle of the field, staying gap to gap, gives you a better chance to put the barrel of the bat on the ball.”
The Blue Jays are coming off a disappointing 73-89 season.
Toronto had a team average of .252 this past year, 15th in the majors. Toronto was fourth in home runs with 185 and 11th in RBIs with 669, and the team had the sixth fewest strikeouts.
Seitzer, a native of Springfield, Ill., also served as hitting coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first half of the 2007 season.
As a player, he finished runner-up for Rookie of the Year to Mark McGwire in 1987. He was an all-star that year with the Royals and again in 1995 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Over 12 big-league seasons, Seitzer had a .295 average with 74 home runs and 613 RBIs for the Royals, Brewers, Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians.
The team previously announced that Mottola and Murphy will not return for the 2014 campaign. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale, pitching coach Pete Walker, third-base coach Luis Rivera and bullpen coach Pat Hentgen will return in their current roles under manager John Gibbons.
The Blue Jays have yet to find a replacement for Murphy.