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Category: Mike Butcher

Diamondbacks' talent is on the coaching staff

If the Arizona Diamondbacks struggle on the field this season the way they did last summer -- their 65-97 record was the second worst in the National League -- they might give some consideration to letting their coaching staff play.

You could certainly do worse than a six-player core of Manager Kirk Gibson, bench coach Alan Trammell, first-base coach Eric Young, third-base coach Matt Williams, pitching coach Charles Nagy and hitting coach Don Baylor. Those players combined for 102 years of big-league experience, making 16 All-Star teams, winning eight Gold Glove awards, a pair of league MVPs and two postseason MVP awards.

Compare that with the Angels staff, where Manager Mike Scioscia and first base coach Alfredo Griffin combined to make three All-Star teams. Only three other coaches played more than 12 games in the majors.

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Angels give and receive good wishes

Angels Angel pitching coach Mike Butcher, who had a cancerous nodule on his thyroid gland removed last month, said Thursday that he's been touched by the outpouring of public support he has received since his condition became publicly known.

"I appreciate it," said Butcher, who reported to camp wearing a soft brace around his neck to protect the area following surgery. "There’s certain things you can’t hide in this game. And me walking around with a doughnut around my neck, I can’t hide."

Doctors believe they got most of the cancer and Butcher, who no longer wears the brace, has been given a clean bill of health.

"It was very nice that people took time and wrote a little note or a card. It was more like reassurance that they had gone through he same thing and they were fine," said Butcher, who had a pile of mail waiting for him when he reported to work Thursday. "Very kind gestures."

And speaking of kind gestures, Thursday was the day for the Angels' annual toy drive, with players collecting more than 100 toys, most of which will be donated to children at a Tempe, Ariz.-area shelter.

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