Eddie Butler’s whirlwind weekend starts early Saturday morning, but other than playing in Sunday’s Futures Game the Modesto Nuts’ pitcher really doesn’t know about the adventure that lies ahead.
“I haven’t heard a whole lot about what we’re doing,” Butler said Friday afternoon. “I have a 5:30 flight tomorrow morning, Modesto to San Francisco to JFK. We’re going to be running around to a couple events after I get there, some community stuff.
“After that I might hang out with the family since I have some coming up for the game, and that will be a good time. Then the game is Sunday and I’ll be excited for that.”
Butler, 3-3, 3.08 with the Nuts after going 5-1, 1.66 in Asheville, is coming off his worst California League start, lasting only 3 ⅔ innings and allowing seven runs in the Nuts’ 8-6 loss Thursday to the Ports.
And when he takes the mound for what probably will be a single inning of work on Sunday afternoon (the game starts at 11 a.m. Pacific time) he’ll be facing some of baseball’s best international minor league prospects.
“It will be good to be out on Citi Field and I’ll have some fun,” Butler said. “It’s just another game - you have to go out there with that mentality and that’s how I’ll go at it. Every guy in the box will be just another guy in my way.”
Butler said that the inning of work should get in his way of making his next scheduled start for the Nuts, in a regular five-man rotation. His normal off-day bullpen session would have fallen on Saturday, but since the entire California League is off on Tuesday in honor of the major league All-Star Game, he expects the Nuts’ rotation just to be given an extra day off.
But no matter how the game goes for Butler, the Virginia resident will be getting the chance to walk the streets of New York City for the first time in his life.
“My only time to New York is when we drove up to Cooperstown when I was 9,” Butler said. “I saw the New York skyline from I-95 (through New Jersey) once when we drove up to the Cape.
“This is awesome. I’m happy I was selected and I’m going to try to make the most of the opportunity.”
Nick Schnaitmann, who had been with the Nuts for most of the last three seasons, was given his release from the Colorado organization on Friday.
His place on the roster was taken by another pitcher, Ryan Buch, a righty signed by the Rockies as a free agent after his release from the Chicago White Sox organization.
Schnaitmann, 23, was 2-4, 5.75 with the Nuts this season. He was 5-4, 3.92 in 52 relief appearances with Modesto in 2012. The Vacaville resident, drafted in the 22nd round in 2008 out of Cosumnes River College in 2008, came to Modesto early in 2011 as a starter and went 3-11, 10.16.
He was released at a time in which he had enjoyed his best streak of bullpen success, having allowed only one run on two hits over his last six outings, covering 5 ⅔ innings.
Before getting into Friday's game, Buch, 25, hadn’t pitched since June 6, when he made his Colorado organization debut with Double-A Tulsa. He began the year with Double-A Birmingham as a reliever, then was sent to Winston-Salem of the High-A Carolina League, where he went 0-2, 5.54 in three starts.