TORONTO -- It has been a decade since Brian Butterfield was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks' coaching staff, but that long period of time does not make the Blue Jays' upcoming trip any less special for their third base coach.
"I think if you ask any player or coach," Butterfield said, "when they go back to a place where they've worked, there is some sentimentality. We lived there for seven years. I still keep in touch with some people there. I love the ballpark and I love the way I was treated there.
"I have very fond memories going back there."
On Friday, the Blue Jays open their Interleague Play schedule with a three-game weekend series on the road against the D-backs. Butterfield has been back to Arizona since he last worked there -- Toronto last played there in 2002, shortly after he joined the organization -- but he said he is looking forward to this coming visit as well.
Butterfield served a variety jobs within the D-backs' system from 1996-97, including scouting Major League talent for the Expansion Draft. From 1998-2000, Butterfield worked as Arizona's third-base coach and infield instructor. Beyond Butterfield, other Blue Jays with ties to Arizona include hitting coach Dwayne Murphy and first baseman Lyle Overbay.
BLUE JAYS' 2010 INTERLEAGUE SCHEDULE
|May 21||@ ARI||3-3|
|May 22||@ ARI|
|May 23||@ ARI|
|June 11||@ COL||6-3|
|June 12||@ COL|
|June 13||@ COL|
|June 14||@ SD||2-1|
|June 15||@ SD|
|June 16||@ SD|
|June 25||@ PHI||16-14|
|June 26||@ PHI|
|June 27||@ PHI|
Murphy was the inaugural employee of the D-backs' organization when he was hired to be a Minor League manager in 1996. Murphy filled multiple roles during his time with the D-backs, including serving as the team's hitting coach during its run to the World Series championship in 2001.
Overbay was originally selected by the D-backs in the 18th round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft and then spent five years with the organization. Overbay suited up for the D-backs in 86 games as a rookie in 2003, but Arizona dealt the first baseman to the Brewers as part of a nine-player trade after the season.
Toronto's trip to Arizona kicks off the club's 18-game Interleague slate, which features four teams from the National League West (D-backs, Rockies, Padres and Giants), and one each from the NL Central (Cardinals) and NL East (Phillies). Last year, the Blue Jays posted a 7-11 record against NL opponents.
The trip to Case Field in Phoenix represents the Blue Jays' lone Interleague series in the month of May. In June, Toronto will hit the road to face the Rockies (June 11-13) and the Padres (June 14-16) and will host the Giants (June 18-20) and Cardinals (June 22-24).
On June 25-27, the Blue Jays will head to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to take on the two-time defending NL champs. That series will mark the first time Toronto will meet up with former ace Roy Halladay, who was traded by the Jays to the Phillies as part of a series of trades in December.
During the series in Philadelphia, Toronto will actually play as the "home" team. The series was originally scheduled to take place at Rogers Centre, but the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball decided to shift the series to Philadelphia due to the G-20 Summit being held in Toronto that same weekend.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.