OAKLAND -- The A's dismissed pitching coach Curt Young on Thursday, handing his duties over to bullpen coach Scott Emerson.Young, 57, spent 23 years in an Oakland uniform as a player (1983-91, '93) and coach (2004-10, 2012-present), making him the longest-serving employee in uniform in A's history. Manager Bob Melvin
OAKLAND -- The A's dismissed pitching coach Curt Young on Thursday, handing his duties over to bullpen coach Scott Emerson.
Young, 57, spent 23 years in an Oakland uniform as a player (1983-91, '93) and coach (2004-10, 2012-present), making him the longest-serving employee in uniform in A's history. Manager Bob Melvin called him "maybe my closest confidant" and noted, "There are a lot of people today that are saddened by this."
"This was not a great day for us," A's general manager David Forst said. "Curt is, above all else, a great guy, a good man, and has been with the organization for a long time and part of some very good and important teams here in Oakland. So this was not an easy decision, but we felt like we needed a change, a new voice here, and Scott deserves the opportunity."
Emerson, who had served as bullpen coach since the start of the 2015 season, has experience as pitching coach with four of the organization's Minor League affiliates. He was also the A's Minor League roving pitching instructor for two years.
Qualified as he may be -- A's reliever Sean Doolittle deemed him "incredibly capable" -- Emerson's promotion could only alleviate the sting felt by Young's departure so much.
"It's frustrating because I know how much he liked being a part of this organization," Doolittle said. "I know it's part of the business, but that doesn't make it any easier for us. Emo is really good. I just feel for Curt. It caught me really off guard."
Pitching was supposed to be a strength for the A's. Yet Oakland's staff has underperformed. A's pitchers have turned in a 4.83 ERA, third-highest in the AL, and have allowed 10 runs or more six times in the last 22 games. They've also struggled to stay healthy, with every one of Oakland's starters, with the exception of Jharel Cotton, spending time on the disabled list at some point this season.
"Pitching is such an important part of this club and this group in particular," Forst said. "It's something we've talked about as needing to take a step forward if we're going to get to where we want to go as an organization. We didn't see that happening in the first half of the season, which is not to place the blame on Curt. There are obviously a lot of things. There's the defense. We haven't scored runs at times. But as it related to the pitching specifically, we felt we needed to make a change."
Forst said the position would be re-evaluated at the end of the season, while Gil Patterson -- the current Minor League pitching coordinator -- will serve as bullpen coach through the Yankees series this weekend. Oakland's search for a permanent replacement won't be limited within the organization, said Forst, whose club was rocked by a series of moves Thursday.
The A's also parted with veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe in addition to Young, who took the news "as expected," Melvin relayed. "He's a very classy guy, didn't have any complaints, all he did was thank Billy [Beane] and David for the opportunity he's had here. That tells you a lot about Curt Young."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.