Athletics

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

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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.

Khris Davis happy in Oakland, hopes to stay with A's long term

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USATSI

Khris Davis happy in Oakland, hopes to stay with A's long term

For A's slugger Khris Davis, Oakland has felt like home from day one. And the numbers prove it.

Since the start of the 2016 season, when Davis was traded to the Athletics by Milwaukee, only Giancarlo Stanton has hit more home runs, in all of baseball.

Now in his third season wearing the green and gold, the 30-year-old Davis hopes to play in Oakland for years to come.

“I envision myself winning a championship in Oakland,” he said. “I think there's a lot of tradition here. It's got a rich history of championships. I feel like I could bring a championship to Oakland one day.”

It appears the A's would like to see Davis stay in Oakland as well. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the team has had talks with his agent, Lou Nero of Octagon Baseball, about a multi-year deal.

This season, Davis is earning a team-high $10.5 million. He is under arbitration control for next year, where he would likely get a raise to around $15 million. He is slated to become a free agent after the 2019 season.

While the A's tend to stay away from long-term contracts, it would make sense to re-sign Davis for at least a few years. He has been a powerful force in the lineup the last three seasons, and shows no signs of slowing down. After crushing 42 home runs in 2016, and 43 in 2017, Davis has a chance to make it three consecutive years with 40-plus homers and 100-plus runs batted in.

“Certain guys make their teammates better, and Khris Davis is that guy for us,” said manager Bob Melvin. “He's a presence that the other team feels. He's always one swing away from a three-run homer. He just makes our lineup deeper and kind of takes the pressure off everybody else. He's been terrific since the day he got here.”

Davis has done his best to just focus on baseball, and leave the negotiations to his agent. But he has made it known that he loves playing in Oakland.

“I like the clubhouse,” he said. “We've got a great group of guys I like to be around, and just grow with them on a daily basis. I like where I'm at right now. Whatever happens, happens in the future. It's a business, but at the same time, I'm happy and I can't complain.”

“I know he's really comfortable here,” Melvin added. “There are certain places where guys just feel at home and comfortable, and this is the place for him.”

A's closer Blake Treinen pitches perfect inning in All-Star homecoming

A's closer Blake Treinen pitches perfect inning in All-Star homecoming

A's closer Blake Treinen last pitched at Nationals Park just over a year ago. 

On July 7, 2017, Treinen retired all three batters he faced in his last inning of action with the Washington Nationals, before being traded to Oakland.

375 days later, he did the same thing, this time as an All-Star. The NL All-Stars went three up, three down against Treinen in his Midsummer Classic debut.

Along the way, Treinen even received help from his A's teammate and fellow first-time All-Star, second baseman Jed Lowrie.

An All-Star combination. #RootedInOakland

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Thanks to his perfect sixth inning, 30-year-old reliever handed off a 2-1 lead to AL teammate Charlie Morton in the seventh inning. Morton relinquished the lead on a Trevor Story solo homer. 

Treinen pitched for the Nationals from 2014-17. Oakland traded Treinen, a 2011 seventh-round draft pick, to Washington as part of a three-team deal in 2013. Fans in D.C. gave him a warm welcome to his former home.