Athletics

A's in search of new bullpen coach

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Oakland Athletics

A's in search of new bullpen coach

Just a week after announcing their complete coaching staff, the A’s have a vacancy to fill.

Garvin Alston, who assumed bullpen coach duties in June, was hired Thursday as the Minnesota Twins’ new pitching coach. Alston was a pitching coach and rehab coordinator in Oakland’s farm system from 2005-15, then spent 2016 as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen coach.

The A’s welcomed him back into the mix in June when they shook up their coaching staff. Curt Young was dismissed as pitching coach, Scott Emerson shifted from bullpen coach to pitching coach and Alston was brought in to assume Emerson’s former duties.

It’s the first shot at being a major league pitching coach for Alston, 45, who was a 10th round draft choice of Colorado in 1992 and made six relief appearances with the Rockies in 1996, his only big league playing time.

The A’s announced their complete 2018 coaching staff last Thursday, with Triple-A manager Ryan Christenson being promoted to serve as Bob Melvin’s new bench coach and Chip Hale sliding back into the role of third-base coach. Now they’ll need to find a new bullpen coach. The Twins fired pitching coach Neil Allen on Oct. 10 and chose Alston over more experienced candidates they interviewed such as Carl Willis and Jim Hickey.

Sometime in the near future the A’s are expected to announce a coaching position of some sort for Mark Kotsay, who began the 2017 season as bench coach but stepped away in June to be with his family after his daughter suffered a serious eye injury.

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick hasn't exactly warmed himself to his old fans this weekend.

On Friday, the Houston Astros outfielder tweeted his displeasure with the umpires overturning a close play at the plate, allowing the A's to tie (and eventually) win the game to move one game back in the AL West. What he said Friday, however, raised even more eyebrows.

Reddick was asked by a reporter afterwards what it was like being part of such an intense, back-and-forth game, and gave a response that Oakland fans were none too pleased with.

"It was fun," Reddick said Friday. "Playing some meaningful baseball in this ballpark doesn't come around a whole lot. As a guy who's been in it before in the past, it's a lot of fun when the fans do come out here. They really make a lot of noise and make it loud here, so it's a lot of fun to be a part of."

He clarified Saturday that his Astros had not played many meaningful baseball games at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, but the damage was done. The replies to the above tweet were a preview of what was to come, and Reddick drew boos from the crowd.

Reddick once again took to Twitter Saturday evening, hours after the A's moved into a tie for first place with the Astros in the AL West, and said his comments Friday were "taken out of context." 

"I never meant that 'meaningful' games were never played at Rickey Henderson Field," Reddick wrote. "I played for [five] years in a great organization where I played in a lot of memorable baseball games. [Three] of those years were playoff teams and VERY meaningful games ... I would NEVER bash Oakland or the fan base regardless of who I play for. That being said, I'm happy for all those guys in that clubhouse. It's good to see them winning and playing so well."

Reddick played 596 games in parts of five seasons in Oakland, by far his longest tenure with any big-league team. Since leaving Oakland in a 2016 trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Reddick is batting .326 with five doubles, two homers, and 14 RBI in 114 plate appearances against his old club. He won his first World Series last season with Houston. 

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley made just his 17th start of the season Saturday. Maybe he should play a little more. The A's improved to 15-2 in Phegley's starts this year.

The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBI. He also caught Trevor Cahill's seven-inning, one-hit gem. Jonathan Lucroy will obviously still be the A's everyday catcher, as he should be, but it's good to know that he can get a day off every once in awhile, and Phegley won't miss a beat.

--- Phegley, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty all recorded two doubles. The A's eight doubles tied the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Matt Chapman was the only A's starter who failed to reach base. That snapped his career-high 30-game on base streak, as well as his career-high 14-game hitting streak. Chapman is still slashing .276/.362/.500 for the season.

--- Oakland improved to 40-13 in its last 53 games, the best record in MLB during that stretch. The A's also clinched another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series.

--- The A's 74-49 record in their best after 123 games since 1992. It is tied for the fourth best record through 123 games in Oakland history.

--- Oakland remains the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 51-0. The A's are 60-0 when leading after eight.

--- The A's have won 19 of their last 23 games at home and are 37-24 at the Coliseum for the season.

--- During the game, the A's announced that they sent 23-year-old RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two prospects in the Mike Fiers trade. Blackwood was 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA and nine saves at Double-A Midland this season. He was ranked as the A's 30th best prospect by MLB.com.