OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Former outfielder Mark Kotsay has aspirations to be a manager one day, and he’ll get an up-close glimpse at the job next season as bench coach with his former Oakland team.
Back in the Bay Area he loves calling home, even if he has put down roots in San Diego.
The Athletics announced Thursday that Kotsay is rejoining the organization on manager Bob Melvin’s staff. In a 17-year big league career, Kotsay spent the 2004-07 seasons with the A’s.
“It’s great to be back in Oakland. The time that I spent there from 2004 to 2007 I really reflect back on it with nothing but positives,” Kotsay said on a conference call. “We had some great teams and I developed some great relationships here in this organization that have continued to stay strong throughout my journey in baseball.”
The two had mutual friends who thought they might click, and that was the case in a hurry. Melvin picked up Kotsay at the Oakland airport on Tuesday and they went to lunch in the city’s Jack London Square neighborhood.
Then, Kotsay said, the two baseball men realized they have a similar “glass half-full approach” in teaching the game.
“I have no experience in this role, Bob can mold me in how he likes things done and I’m here to learn that,” Kotsay said. “From that standpoint I’m just looking forward to being a sponge and soaking things up.”
Kotsay, a career .276 hitter who turns 40 next month, was San Diego’s hitting coach last season in his first job as a professional coach.
Mike Aldrete had been bench coach but will shift to first base duties to replace departed Tye Waller. The rest of Melvin’s staff stays intact, with former Rangers manager Ron Washington remaining at third base in the spot he took over in August.
“Every bench coach has to be an extension of the manager and really the manager sets the tone,” Kotsay said. “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. I’ve got a lot to learn in this role.”
Oakland also named Phil Pohl its bullpen catcher.
Being part of the low-budget A’s and all the challenges that come with that don’t bother Kotsay. For him, it’s about the people he works with and the relationships built while trying to put a winning team on the field each day.
“One of the things that I love about Oakland is when opposing teams come in to play, they don’t like the Coliseum,” he said, “and it’s somewhere that I love.”
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