Kotsay named Athletics' new bench coach
Aldrete will coach first base; Pohl hired as bullpen catcher
OAKLAND -- Mark Kotsay is back with the A's, this time to work on manager Bob Melvin's staff as bench coach. The former player's hiring was announced Thursday.
Melvin took Kotsay to lunch in Oakland's Jack London Square earlier in the week, familiarizing himself with the many estimable qualities he's heard about over the years. The two quickly bonded.
"Bob and I have mutual friends in the game, and through those friends it was communicated that Bob and I would be a good mesh," Kotsay said. "I understand how respected Bob is in this game, how much he's learned throughout his career and journey from bench coach to manager. When Bob and I got together for lunch, it was evident to us we have very similar philosophies and approaches to the game."
The A's front office has long admired Kotsay, who just completed his first season as hitting coach with San Diego after working in the Padres' front office in 2014 as a special assistant to the general manager. But since Kotsay was still under contract with them for one more year, the A's ability to reel him back to Oakland required a promotion to bench coach, forcing incumbent Mike Aldrete to assume the first-base coach job, which was recently vacated by the dismissed Tye Waller.
The shift, Melvin noted, does not reflect a demotion but rather speaks to Aldrete's versatility.
"We had an opportunity to get this guy, it was the only way to bring him in," Melvin said, "and being that Mike Aldrete has been a versatile coach, it allowed us to create an opportunity for someone this organization thought very highly of."
Aldrete, who is entering the second year of a two-year deal, was Melvin's first-base/outfield coach with the Mariners in 2004.
Kotsay, 39, "understands the game at any number of levels," Melvin said. "It always appeared from afar that he was an impactful guy, whether it was in the dugout or in the clubhouse. It's exciting to bring in a guy that's kind of new to coaching who we feel has a very high ceiling in this game."
"I've got no experience in this role," Kotsay said. "Bob can mold me in how he likes things done, and I'm eager to learn. I'm just looking forward to being a sponge and soaking things up.
"I think every bench coach is an extension of the manager, and the manager sets the tone. From my standpoint as a bench coach, hopefully I can share my experiences as a player and get across to them the importance of buying in and how special teams can be when the group really believes in that."
Kotsay was a clubhouse leader during his four-year playing stint with the A's, and his inside-the-park home run that helped the A's beat the Twins in the 2006 American League Division Series will forever be etched as one of the most thrilling moments in team history.
Kotsay played for six other teams during his 17-year big league career that ended in 2013, but he acknowledges Oakland "holds a special place for my family." His second of three children with wife Jamie was born in nearby Danville.
"Our family life started as Oakland A's," said Kotsay, who also noted, "when opposing teams come in to play, they don't like the Coliseum, and it's somewhere that I love."
The rest of the 2015 coaching staff returns intact, with Curt Young as pitching coach, Darren Bush as hitting coach, Ron Washington as third-base coach, Scott Emerson as bullpen coach and Marcus Jensen as assistant hitting and catching coach.
In addition, the A's have named Phil Pohl as bullpen catcher. Pohl was the A's 28th-round Draft pick in 2012 and spent nearly four seasons in Oakland's farm system before he was traded to the Rockies this past June 26. Former bullpen coach Casey Chavez, the brother of six-time A's Gold Glove Award winner Eric Chavez, has retired from baseball.