Toronto Blue Jays Coach Mark Budzinski Takes Leave After Daughter Dies in Tragic Tubing Accident

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Toronto Blue Jays' first-base coach Mark Budzinski is taking some time off from baseball to spend more time with his family following the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Julia.

Budzinski, who has been an integral part of the Jays for four seasons, abruptly left Saturday's game along with team manager Charlie Montoyo in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.

At the time, Toronto released the statement, "As many of you are aware, Mark Budzinski left early in the game tonight. He is dealing with a personal matter and Charlie and our coaches are with him. Out of consideration for Bud, we ask that you please respect his privacy at this time," ESPN reported.

On Sunday, news broke that Budzinski's oldest daughter died after a tubing accident on the James River in Richmond, Virginia.

According to CBS-6 Richmond, Julia was killed after falling from her tube and into the river. A Department of Wildlife Resources spokesperson told the outlet that a rescue boat en route to get her and her friends hit a wave, which caused the boat to be pushed on top of her, the propeller striking her.

She was taken to the hospital, the Associated Press reported, where she was pronounced dead.

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The Toronto Blue Jays' Zack Collins, right, is congratulated by Blue Jays third base coach Mark Budzinski (53) after hitting a home run
The Toronto Blue Jays' Zack Collins, right, is congratulated by Blue Jays third base coach Mark Budzinski (53) after hitting a home run

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

The Blue Jays have since released a statement, expressing their condolences to the family.

"The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family over the last four seasons. This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family," Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays' general manager and executive vice president of baseball operations said.

"I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts."

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"Everyone in our clubhouse is thinking of Bud, and I know you are, too, of his wife and their children," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo added in a statement on Sunday.

A moment of silence was observed for Julia's memory on Sunday, before the Tampa Bay Rays faced Toronto.

Tampa Bay Rays players and staff stand for a moment of silence on the death of Julia Budzinski, the eldest daughter of first base coach Mark Budzinski, ahead of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays players and staff stand for a moment of silence on the death of Julia Budzinski, the eldest daughter of first base coach Mark Budzinski, ahead of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays

Cole Burston/Getty Images

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Also on Sunday, a vigil was held for Julia at her high school, Glen Allen High School in Virginia.

Julia played varsity soccer and varsity volleyball at the school, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, and was vice president of the Glen Allen National Honor Society.

"It's with a heavy heart to announce that the GAHS family is dealing with the loss of life of a student — Julia Budzinski," Glen Allen's principal Reginald Davenport wrote on Twitter, sharing details of the vigil. "We will come together to celebrate the life of Julia Budzinski."

In addition to Julia, Budzinski and his wife Monica share two children, Josh and Lily, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

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