The A’s filled the one vacancy on their coaching staff with a very familiar name.
Former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale was brought back as Oakland’s third base coach and infield instructor to replace Ron Washington, who left to fill the same role with the Atlanta Braves.
Hale, 52, served as the A’s bench coach from 2012-14 before getting his first crack as a big league manager with Arizona. But his ties to A’s manager Bob Melvin date back to 2007, when he worked under Melvin as the Diamondbacks’ third base and infield coach.
Hale posted a 148-176 record in two seasons managing Arizona but was let go Oct. 3, the same day the Diamondbacks fired general manager Dave Stewart. As soon as Washington left for the Braves, the A’s went after Hale, who had substantial interest from other clubs to join their staffs.
“Obviously I have a long history with him,” Melvin said Tuesday. “There were some other teams calling on him too, so we were lucky to get him. I think his loyalty to the A’s was a big factor.”
Along with taking over as third base coach, Hale — a San Jose native who attended Campolindo High School in Moraga — will also work with a group of A’s infielders that grew accustomed to Washington’s diligent drill work that was a daily pregame staple. Among the beneficiaries of that were shortstop Marcus Semien and rookie third baseman Ryon Healy.
“It’s important to have a guy that works as hard as Wash, especially with the young infielders we have,” Melvin said. “Chip is the right guy for that.”
Hale wasn’t available for comment after recently undergoing a minor medical procedure to stop nose bleeding.
The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff remains intact — bench coach Mark Kotsay, pitching coach Curt Young, hitting coach Darren Bush, first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Scott Emerson and assistant hitting coach/catching instructor Marcus Jensen.
Melvin cited the large core of young players the A’s got a look at in the second half, and more prospects that the team saw during spring training, and said he thought it was important to retain a staff that already has history with these players.
The A’s announced two other moves: Jeff Collins was named as an assistant athletic trainer, replacing Walt Horn, who retired. Collins spent 19 years working in the team’s minor league system.
Josh Cuffe was promoted from the minor league staff to replace Mike Henriques as Oakland’s strength and conditioning coach. Henriques was suspended briefly in August for planting a camera in the Coliseum weight room to monitor injured players while the A’s were on the road.
The A’s had no comment Tuesday about Henriques, whose contract ran out after this season.