Butterfield reflects on Sheppard
Longtime Yankees announcer passes away at 99
TORONTO -- Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield was on the field at Rogers Centre on Sunday when he heard the news: longtime Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard passed away that morning.
For Butterfield, learning of Sheppard's death stirred up memories of his big league debut as a coach. On Opening Day in 1994, Butterfield made it to the Majors as a first-base coach for the Yankees.
"Don Mattingly approached me before the game," Butterfield recalled, "and said, 'You're going to be excited when Bob Sheppard introduces you. He went through it. He did a great immitation of Bob Sheppard. He said, 'First-base coach, Bri-an, But-terfield,' with the accent on the two 'T's,' just like 'Mat-tingly.'"
Sheppard did not disappoint, announcing Butterfield's name just as Mattingly had predicted. For Butterfield -- whose father, Jack, had served as a vice president of player development and scouting for the Yankees -- it was a very emotional moment.
"It was a great day," Butterfield said. "Just thinking about the Yankee tradition and hearing Bob Sheppard's voice -- the greatest of all-time -- and then to be introduced on the chalk line. It was a day that I was thinking about my father, because he had worked in the Yankees' organization.
"It was really emotional. It was such an emotional day. It was one of my big highlights of my professional career -- being introduced by Bob Sheppard on Opening Day."
Marcum feels good, may start next week
TORONTO -- After working through a bullpen session on a mound beyond the left-field wall at Rogers Centre on Sunday morning, Blue Jays righty Shaun Marcum headed into the clubhouse, ready with a one-liner.
Did he throw a no-hitter?
"No, I got hit around a little bit today," Marcum quipped.
It was Marcum's first time back on a mound since being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow on July 2. The starter's location was not as sharp as he would have hoped, but he came away without any soreness and is on schedule to rejoin Toronto's rotation shortly after the All-Star break.
Barring any setbacks, Marcum is scheduled to be activated in time to start on the road against the Orioles next Sunday, according to Jays manager Cito Gaston. Left-hander Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow are penciled in to start the first two games of the series in Baltimore on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Gaston was not ready to reveal who would occupy the rotation's fourth and fifth spots. Lefty Brett Cecil will likely start one of the first two games on the road against the Royals on July 19-20, but the final spot will probably come down to either Marc Rzepczynski or Jesse Litsch.
"We'll see," Gaston said.
The good news for Toronto is that Marcum's 40-pitch mound session went well.
"I was a little off, but I wasn't really worried about it," Marcum said. "I was just getting out there and trying to get a feel for the ball again. Other than that, the arm felt great, felt back to normal. It was a step in the right direction."
Marcum said he is scheduled to throw off a mound again on Thursday, when the Jays have a workout at Camden Yards in Baltimore. If Toronto decides that Marcum needs more rest, the pitcher said another option would be to start on July 20 in Kansas City, which happens to be his hometown.
Marcum indicated that the sharp pain he felt behind his elbow between starts at the end of last month has subsided. The right-hander -- sidelined all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow -- has completed a few long-toss sessions this week without any lingering issues.
"It was pretty painful," Marcum said. "I couldn't even put my elbows on a table. It was that painful, but I think that was a combination of scar tissue and triceps tendinitis where it all meets and is coming together. It was something hopefully we don't have to go through again.
"I think a lot of it, too, is just coming back off surgery you're going to have ups and downs throughout the first year of pitching -- at least that's what I'm told, anyway. Hopefully we don't have any more of those and I can just keep on pitching."
Gaston: Lind, Hill have time to turn it around
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston believes there is still time for Adam Lind and Aaron Hill to salvage their seasons. Gaston is hoping the All-Star break will give the pair of struggling hitters time to regroup for the second half.
"[Lind] and Hill have got to come back and have a decent second half to accomplish something," Gaston said. "It's certainly there and they can do it."
Entering Sunday's game against the Red Sox, Lind and Hill had combined to hit .202 with 23 home runs and 71 RBIs. At the All-Star break a year ago, the pair were batting a combined .299 with 39 homers and 119 RBIs.
Gaston pointed out that Lind (.214 average) and Hill (.188) are still putting up solid power numbers this season, though. Entering Sunday, Lind had 12 homers and 40 RBIs, while Hill had 11 homers and 31 RBIs.
"Both of those kids still have over 10 home runs," Gaston said. "So they're going to hit 20 home runs. They might hit 25. They might get hot in the second half and get their averages back up there, but I'm pretty sure they're going to hit 20 home runs, and that's not all bad."
Gaston offers take on Bautista, Derby
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston does not believe there is anything wrong with the fact that Jose Bautista was not invited to take part in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby.
Bautista entered Sunday as the Major League leader with 24 home runs, but he was not asked to take part in the annual slugfest. Bautista's teammate, and fellow All-Star, Vernon Wells (19 homers) was asked and will participate in the Derby.
"I don't know if you'd call it disrespectful," Gaston said. "That's all right. I don't think Jose's going to be upset about it. Most of the time those guys -- after they do all that -- they can't hit in the second half. So I wouldn't be worried about it too much."
On Saturday, Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher (14 home runs) was named to the final spot in the Home Run Derby. Besides Wells and Swisher, sluggers Miguel Cabrera (22) of the Tigers and David Ortiz (17) of the Red Sox will be included in the American League field for the contest.
"Maybe they just don't want to have two guys from the Blue Jays," Gaston said.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.