Former Rays player Kapler visits camp
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Gabe Kapler visited camp on Tuesday.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that Andrew Friedman, the Rays' executive vice president of baseball operations, invited Kapler to camp "for some undisclosed reason." Afterward, Maddon said he invited Kapler to get into uniform and join the team on the field.
"Kap's out here today," Maddon said. "He's going to be here a couple of days. I always love having Kap with us. I introduced him to the position players, not everybody, as one of the best teammates you ever had in your life, because that's what he is. It's really great to have him out here. I know he's going to have a lot of positive influence to whomever he speaks. I mean that very sincerely, this guy's outstanding."
Kapler noted that he did not have any hidden agenda concerning his visit.
"To be really accurate about what's going on here, I'm really just spending some time absorbing baseball ... really just experiencing baseball," Kapler said. "I had an urge to be on the field and be around the game and specifically be around the guys."
Kapler said he's been spending a lot of time at home, and he's helping to develop a business. He seemed to enjoy meeting the new players on the team.
"Because there's been a lot of turnover," Kapler said. "So the opportunity to interact with the guys around the cage, the outfield, what have you, was important to me."
Kapler said he still would like to get back into baseball, but right now the most important thing to him is "watching my kids grow up."
"I'd summarize it that I very much want to be back on the field and around the game, but the timing has to be right for that. And right now, I'm focused on spending time with my family and helping to build [the business]."
Kapler played for the Rays in the 2009 and '10 seasons, hitting .228 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in 158 games.