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Tellez honors young fan's wish with 2-HR game

@baseballexis
September 25, 2019

TORONTO -- Ahead of Wednesday night’s series finale with the Orioles, Blue Jays slugger Rowdy Tellez made a promise. As the 24-year-old first baseman went through his pregame routine, Tellez touted a companion along with him. Five-year-old Emmett Cooper from Brantford, Ontario, joined the infielder in the dugout, toured the

TORONTO -- Ahead of Wednesday night’s series finale with the Orioles, Blue Jays slugger Rowdy Tellez made a promise.

As the 24-year-old first baseman went through his pregame routine, Tellez touted a companion along with him. Five-year-old Emmett Cooper from Brantford, Ontario, joined the infielder in the dugout, toured the clubhouse and participated in drills during batting practice, and when the two met with manager Charlie Montoyo in the skipper’s office, Tellez made a prophetic commitment to the young fan.

“I’m not going to compare Rowdy with Babe Ruth, but he promised the kid that he was going to hit a home run, and he hit two, so that was pretty cool,” Montoyo said, after Toronto’s 3-2 win over the Orioles at Rogers Centre. “The kid had heart problems before, and he was in the clubhouse today, and we were talking.

“He came to my office and I said, ‘Rowdy’s going to hit at least four more [homers] and he goes, ‘I just need one more,’ and he did it. That was pretty cool; a pretty cool moment when he did that. The kid is pretty happy about it.”

With the third multi-homer game of his career, Tellez became the fourth rookie in team history to reach the milestone mark of 20 round-trippers. And while he’s sure Cooper was happy with the performance, Tellez didn’t achieve what he’d told his young friend he would.

“I promised him three, and I failed,” Tellez said. “But it was a special moment for us. We have a connection, and I was glad that I could have him with me, took him around to tour the clubhouse and let him hang out with us. He came out on the field with me, he took some ground balls, played catch, stretched with us. Probably a fun day all around for both of us, but a little more special for him.”

Tellez met Cooper and his parents last year in Buffalo, N.Y., where the California native quickly added to his fan base when he offered an autographed broken bat to Cooper. On Wednesday, Cooper traded an autographed Tellez baseball card to the fan who caught the rookie’s home-run ball in exchange for the souvenir and promptly returned the milestone ball to Tellez.

“[Hitting 20] is pretty special,” Tellez said. “One of those things that a lot of people dream of and work hard to do, but I couldn’t be more grateful to be in the position I am, with the organization I’m with, and everybody who’s gotten me to this point.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.