Young returns to A's to be pitching coach again
Former Oakland pitcher worked with staff for seven seasons
OAKLAND -- The East Coast detour didn't last very long for Curt Young, who on Friday rejoined the A's staff as pitching coach following a one-year stint with Boston.
It's the same position he held for seven seasons with Oakland before departing to the Red Sox last October. The 2012 campaign will be his 28th overall in the A's organization, the first 12 of which were spent as a player.
"It's exciting for me," Young said. "I really just want to keep it at that. I get a chance to come back and be very comfortable, knowing the pitchers already, the front office, the coaching staff. It's just exciting being able to come back."
Like many Red Sox coaches, Young had been given permission to seek employment elsewhere despite having one year remaining on his deal. Sox pitchers ranked ninth in the American League in ERA, and their September woes took the brunt of the blame for a well-documented collapse and missed playoff berth.
"Obviously it was a fun year in Boston, but not finishing the way we wanted to finish, I think has a lot to do with me being let go," said Young, who signed a one-year contract with Oakland.
Boston's loss, then, turned into a win for the A's and manager Bob Melvin, who was a Royals teammate of Young in 1992. The two also shared the same golf course during Melvin's time with Arizona.
"He's laid-back but very well respected," Melvin said. "Just easy to work with, from what I've heard, and I know a lot of our guys like him very much.
"I'm excited about it. I think it's a natural fit for many reasons -- a history with the organization, a history with the pitchers, a guy that I've known for a long time personally and has a great reputation professionally."
Initially named A's pitching coach prior to the 2004 season, Young's hurlers posted an AL-best 4.03 ERA and held opponents to an AL-low .257 average during those seven seasons. Moreover, seven A's pitchers were selected to the All-Star team during that time, and Huston Street (2005) and Andrew Bailey (2009) garnered Rookie of the Year honors.
His 2010 staff led the AL with a 3.56 ERA, including a 3.47 mark compiled by starters -- the lowest such number in the AL since the 1990 Red Sox posted a 3.32 ERA. Included on that staff were Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, who have since been joined by the emerging arms of Brandon McCarthy and Guillermo Moscoso.
"They're young and they're good," Young said. "You've got Gio and Cahill and hopefully Dallas [Braden] back. I know Brandon pitched well there, and I also realize they kind of rebuilt their bullpen a bit last year. They've got solid guys there. Just looking from the other side a few times we did play them, it's a solid pitching staff, definitely."
Young replaces Ron Romanick, who like hitting coach Gerald Perry and bench coach Joel Skinner was not retained at season's end. Chip Hale has since been named bench coach, and the A's are expected to target St. Louis assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete to fill the hitting coach vacancy -- a move they can make once the Cardinals' postseason has concluded.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.