First-base coach Mark Budzinski away from Toronto Blue Jays after eldest daughter's death

ByABC News
July 3, 2022, 11:19 AM

Toronto Blue Jays first-base coach Mark Budzinski will be away from the team after the death of his eldest daughter, Julia Budzinski, the team announced Sunday.

"The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family over the last four seasons. This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family," Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays' executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager, said in a statement. "I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts."

Julia Budzinski was 17 years old. The team said Budzinski will be away from the team to be with his wife, Monica, and children Josh and Lily. 

"As a husband and a father myself, my heart breaks for Bud and his family,'' Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

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

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who roomed with Budzinski during his minor league career, expressed support for his grieving friend before Detroit hosted the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

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

Bullpen catcher Luis Hurtado coached first base in Budzinski's absence.

Budzinski and Montoyo left in the third inning of the second game of the Blue Jays' doubleheader Saturday against the Rays. After the game, the Blue Jays closed their clubhouse and said that Montoyo and the team's other coaches were with Budzinski, who was "dealing with a personal matter."

Budzinski played four games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 and retired in 2005. After managing in Cleveland's minor league system, he joined its big league staff in 2017. Toronto hired Budzinski in November 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.