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Butterfield, Walton returning to Jays for '11

Butterfield, Walton returning to Jays for '11

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TORONTO -- Newly appointed Blue Jays manager John Farrell wasted no time addressing his priorities.

Minutes after officially being introduced as the club's new skipper -- roughly around 3 p.m. ET on Monday -- the 48-year-old first-time manager and former Red Sox pitching coach, sitting alongside general manager Alex Anthopoulos, discussed the importance of stability when building a perennial contender.

With that in mind, Farrell announced that both pitching coach Bruce Walton and longtime third-base coach Brian Butterfield would be returning to the club for the 2011 season. He also said he has been in constant contact with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, but an agreement had yet to be reached.

While it was rumored that Butterfield, who was one of four finalists for the managerial position left vacant by the retiring Cito Gaston, would move elsewhere if not awarded the job, Farrell said Butterfield was an easy sell. Farrell and Anthopoulos individually spoke to Butterfield on Friday, and a deal was made later that night.

"Our interaction was very positive, upbeat," Farrell said. "His heart was clearly in Toronto, he articulated that very clearly and repetitively in our conversation, and it was great to hear."

Farrell, having observed Butterfield first hand over the past few seasons, has always admired his unprecedented work ethic -- a trait he believes will create lasting chemistry between the two.

"Watching him across the field, he's an outstanding third-base coach. Watching him in early work, his work with the infielders, the pace in which they work, the energy in which is created, there is a lot of positive work that gets done.

"I know he' got tremendous relationships on this roster and in this clubhouse. Those are things that were taken into consideration heavily. Whether it's with Bruce or with Dwayne, the relationships that are established are a key component to hitting the ground running in this situation."

Anthopoulos, too, was grateful to have Butterfield back.

"It was one of those things that John and I prioritized." Anthopoulos said. "Butter was a finalist [to be the new manager], everybody knew that. We have tremendous respect for him and we value him. Again, I asked every candidate as we started the process what they knew about our staff and how they felt about them. I didn't lead them in any direction, I didn't give them any hints about how I felt about anybody on the staff."

Being one of just two current managers that are former big league pitchers -- San Diego skipper Bud Black being the other -- with the addition of four years experience as a pitching coach, Farrell's dynamic with Walton will be a an interesting one -- especially considering the Blue Jays' biggest asset is undoubtedly their young rotation.

"The one thing that I will not do is micromanage, even though I was a pitching coach in the past," Farrell said. "[Walton] has earned the right, it is evident by the performance of the pitchers on this staff. We've had some conversation and it's been very free flowing, and I look forward to more dialogue that we will have not only leading up to Spring Training, but every night in the dugout.

"Bruce has got a very good feel for the guys that he has been dealing with over the past few years. Whether he's been [serving as the bullpen coach], or now the pitching coach."

Farrell did not address if bench coach Nick Leyva or first-base coach Omar Malave would be returning, though the two have been guaranteed positions within the organization from Anthopoulos.

James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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