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Angels coach Mike Butcher, recovering from cancer surgery, says 'I feel normal'

Butcher_400 Doctors informed Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher after a check-up on Wednesday that he is cancer-free following his Feb. 10 surgery to remove his thyroid gland. A cancerous growth was found on Butcher's neck in mid-January.

"The next step is figuring out whether I have to take a radiation pill or not and dialing in my thyroid medication," Butcher said Thursday in his first public comments since the procedure. "My energy level is good. I feel normal.

"I feel I can go through a full day with no problems. I can't yell as loud as I want to, and I won't be singing any time soon, but for the most part, I'm back."

Butcher, who lives in the Phoenix area, had gone to a doctor in mid-January because of some bone spurs in his neck. A nodule was detected on the thyroid, and Butcher was sent to a specialist for a biopsy, which showed Butcher had papillary thyroid cancer.

"My immediate reaction was, 'Whoa,' you don't want to hear the C-word," said Butcher, who has a three-inch scar at the base of his neck. "I wanted it out of me. I gathered as much information as I could."

Among his first calls was to Marcie Salmon, the wife of former Angels star Tim Salmon, who had a similar procedure done in the late 1990s and has suffered no ill effects.

"She told me the steps I'd be going through, what to expect, and knowing she recovered and feels fine was very reassuring," Butcher said. "It put my mind at ease."

Doctors told Butcher, a former Angels reliever, that there is not necessarily a link between his cancer and his use of smokeless chewing tobacco for 20 years as a pitcher and coach.

But Butcher stopped chewing tobacco two years ago, "and that's something I won't do again," he said. "You'll never see me with a dip in my mouth, and I can say never."

For more on Butcher later this afternoon, check back at latimes.com.

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.

Photo: Mike Butcher, left, works with pitcher Jason Bulger during spring training on Feb. 17. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

 
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