Jays coach Budzinski quits after daughter dies


Toronto Blue Jays’ Santiago Espinal (5) celebrates with first base coach Mark Budzinski after hitting a single against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Toronto. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)


Toronto Blue Jays first baseman coach Mark Budzinski will be absent from the team following the death of his eldest daughter. Julia Budzinski was 17 years old.

“The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family for the past four seasons,” general manager Ross Atkins said in a statement Sunday. “This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we mourn alongside Bud and his family. I have known Bud for over 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a father and husband above all else. He is loved and respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all of our hearts.

The Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays lined up along the foul lines before the first pitch on Sunday for a moment of silence. Rays manager Kevin Cash said his team was “heartbroken”.

Tigers manager AJ Hinch, who roomed with Budzinski during his minor league career, expressed his support for his bereaved friend before Detroit hosts Kansas City on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Red Sox manager Alex Cora offered a similar message from Chicago, where his team faced the Cubs.

Bullpen coach Luis Hurtado coached first base in Budzinski’s absence.

Budzinski and manager Charlie Montoyo left the dugout in the third inning of Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays clubhouse was closed after the 11-5 loss.

Budzinski played four games for Cincinnati in 2003 and retired in 2005. After leading Cleveland’s minor league system, he joined the then Indian big league staff in 2017. Toronto hired Budzinski in November 2018.


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Lynn A. Saleh