Urban: Bay Ball Defense Golden But Not Gold


Urban: Bay Ball Defense Golden But Not Gold

Nov. 9, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- Unless Andres Torres pulls off an upset, the Giants will go without winning a Gold Glove for 2010. Theyve got that gold trophy and will soon have plenty of gold (and diamonds) on their ring fingers to ease the sting.The As dont have any such consolation prizes, and they were shut out in the American League voting that was announced Tuesday.Both teams played excellent defense this season, though. They should feel good about that. The Giants were expected to be a bunch of butchers and were anything but. The As were expected to be as good as they were.They just werent quite good enough individually to win whats devolved into something of a popularity contest.Torres is a no-name nationally. He played Gold Glove-caliber D, for sure, but thats not enough to win the vote.Ask As second baseman Mark Ellis, who should probably have a closetful of Gold Gloves by now. Hes a no-name, too, and despite posting the best fielding percentage for a second baseman of all time a couple years ago, he was beaten out by Mark Grudzielanek, who had better offensive numbers.Silly, but that means something to the managers and coaches who do the voting.As shortstop Cliff Pennington made a ton of ridiculously spectacular plays this year, but he also made 25 errors. He might win a Gold Glove down the road, but not with 25 errors.As catcher Kurt Suzuki had a down year in just about every way, but hes got a shot in the future, too. Especially after the Twins Joe Mauer makes his inevitable switch to first base or DH.As outfielder Ryan Sweeney also has Gold Glove skills, but he has to stay on the field to win one.Of all the players currently plying their trade in the Bay Area, Giants catcher Buster Posey seems the most likely to be honored for his defensive prowess in the future. Hes a name, he can swing it, and yes, he can D up with the best of them.For now, though, nada. Just a job well done.

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up


Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

The Raiders are aiming to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the first-place Chiefs Thursday night under the lights in Oakland. And they will be thin in the middle of their defense. 

Cory James and Marquel Lee are both inactive, but a well-known new face is ready to go.

Oakland will turn to veteran NaVorro Bowman, along with two undrafted rookies, Woodson Luster and Nicholas Morrow, to man the middle. 

The following players have been ruled out tonight vs. the Chiefs: 

Cornerback Gareon Conley

Quarterback Connor Cook

Linebacker Cory James

Linebacker Marquel Lee

Tackle Marshall Newhouse

Defensive End Jihad Ward

Tackle Jylan Ware

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff


Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.