Hitting coach Seitzer departs Blue Jays staff

Hitting coach Seitzer departs Blue Jays staff

TORONTO -- The bulk of the Blue Jays' coaching staff is set to return next season, but former hitting coach Kevin Seitzer will not be among them.

Seitzer officially accepted the same position in Atlanta on Monday after he was unable to come to terms on a new deal with the Blue Jays. The deal was first reported by MLB.com's Mark Bowman and later confirmed by both clubs.

The departure of Seitzer means Toronto will be searching for its third hitting coach in as many years. Dwayne Murphy held the position in 2012, but he was moved out of the role in favor of Chad Mottola, who spent just one season with the Blue Jays before being let go.

"I knew the Jays wanted me back and I wanted to go back," Seitzer said. "I really loved the city, the players and the staff. I've been with [manager John Gibbons] in Kansas City. We had a great relationship and I loved everything about it.

"We didn't get a contract until about three weeks after the season. We just couldn't come to terms on a number that I was comfortable with. After we went back and forth for a couple days, I asked permission to make some calls and the Braves were the first one. I sensed there was an excitement and an openness to bring me on and that started the ball rolling fairly quickly."

The Blue Jays typically sign all of their coaches to one-year contracts. It had been assumed that Seitzer would return in 2015, but some intial doubt arose within the past couple of weeks when reports surfaced that the club had reached out to former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. At the time, it appeared the Blue Jays were doing due diligence, but they will now have to expand their scope for an unexpected hire.

Toronto also announced on Monday that bench coach DeMarlo Hale, pitching coach Pete Walker, first-base coach Tim Leiper and third-base coach Luis Rivera will return for the 2015 season after signing new contracts. As expected, bullpen coach Bob Stanley will not be back and instead has been reassigned to another position within the organization.

"I'm going to miss Toronto very much and everybody that I worked with," Seitzer said. "But it's something I'm very excited about and looking forward to here in Atlanta."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.