COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus Clippers manager Brian Butterfield was fired Thursday and replaced by former major league slugger Frank Howard on an interim basis.
The Clippers, the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, were 12-25 and had the second-worst record in the International League heading into Thursday night’s home game against the Charlotte Knights.
“They’ve struggled, obviously,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “The bottom line is, the record is what it is.”
Butterfield, a former Orono High School three-sport standout who was the starting second baseman at the University of Maine in 1974, was in his first year with the Clippers. He also coached under former Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees manager Buck Showalter.
Butterfield’s father, Jack Butterfield, coached the UMaine baseball team from 1957-1974.
“It just goes to show you how much pressure there is at any level,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Thursday night’s game against Tampa Bay.
Howard, 65, has been a special assistant in the Yankees organization.
Howard had a 93-133 record as manager of the San Diego Padres during the strike-shortened 1981 season and the New York Mets in 1983.
Clippers general manager Ken Schnacke said he anticipated a permanent replacement would be announced within four or five days.
During a 16-year playing career from 1958-73, Howard hit 382 home runs and was a four-time All-Star with Los Angeles, Washington, Detroit and Texas. He was the 1960 National League rookie of the year with the Dodgers.