8

A’s release Michael Wuertz, pick up reliever and outfielder on waivers from Padres

The A’s released reliever Michael Wuertz on Tuesday, not a big shock as it was likely they would decline his $3.25 million club option in a few days anyway. The A’s claimed right-handed reliever Evan Scribner and outfielder Cedric Hunter off waivers from the San Diego Padres, and they needed to clear a space on the 40-man roster, so Wuertz was released as a result.

It was an interesting three seasons for Wuertz in Oakland. He was one of the majors’ most dominant relievers in 2009, going 6-1 and striking out 102 in 78 2/3 innings. But he was nowhere near that form over the past two seasons, going 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA, 47 walks and 72 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings combined. He was signed to a two-year, $5.25 million contract for the 2010-11 seasons, and it was pretty obvious the A’s weren’t going to pick up his option for this upcoming season. Wuertz is a stand-up guy and knew he wasn’t likely to be back with Oakland. “I know I haven’t performed up to what they paid me to do the last couple years,” he said today over the phone. “It’s a business. I don’t know if they’re going to try to go younger or whatever. It’s just time to move on. I think wherever I go, whatever team that gets me is going to get a pretty good steal and a pretty good pitcher.”

I don’t have a whole lot to offer on Scribner, 26, and Hunter, 23, at this point. You can click on the links to read up on their stats. Scribner was a 28th-round pick of Arizona in 2007 and made his big league debut in 2011 with San Diego, posting a 7.07 ERA in 10 appearances spread over two stints. Hunter, who bats and throws left-handed, was a third-round pick in 2006. He made the Padres’ Opening Day roster this season (his big league debut) but played in just six games before spending the rest of the season in Triple-A, where he hit.255 with two homers and 33 RBIs in 81 games. A groin injury in July ended his season.

That’s all for now …

5

Curt Young back as Oakland A’s pitching coach

Curt Young is back as the A’s pitching coach, returning to Oakland after a one-season stint in the same role with the Boston Red Sox. Young signed a one-year deal with the A’s on Friday, as things moved quickly after the Sox granted the A’s permission to interview Young, who had one year remaining on his Boston contract. Here’s a nuts-and-bolts story on Young’s hiring, with an expanded story including quotes coming later in the day.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter (@joestiglich) for immediate newsy tidbits and opinions about the A’s.

6

Chip Hale hired as Oakland A’s bench coach

Just because the regular season ends doesn’t mean the A’s news stops …

Chip Hale was announced as the team’s new bench coach Wednesday, replacing Joel Skinner. It’s a good local story. Hale, 46****, was born in San Jose and went to Campolindo High in Moraga, about a 20-minute drive from the Coliseum. He served as the New York Mets’ third base/infield coach for the past two seasons, and he was a finalist to be their manager in 2011 before Terry Collins was hired. Not surprisingly, he has a history with A’s manager Bob Melvin, having served as Melvin’s third base/infield coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2007-09. Melvin had said he wanted to bring in coaches he was familiar with, and I’d say that’s especially true of a bench coach, who serves as the manager’s right-hand man and takes over the club if the skipper gets ejected. Hale received a two-year deal, by the way.

That leaves three spots on Melvin’s staff left to fill — hitting coach, pitching coach and bullpen coach (though Rick Rodriguez is a candidate to return in that last role).

Check out Chip Hale’s stats from his playing career if you like …