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Kotsay promoted to third base coach; Why the A's are thrilled to keep him in Oakland

By Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

The Oakland A's promoted quality control coach Mark Kotsay to third base coach, the team announced Thursday.

During his six seasons as part of Oakland's coaching staff, Kotsay has become respected for his keen coaching abilities and feel for the clubhouse mood. Kotsay will replace Al Pedrique, who was released from his third base coach duties back in October after three years with Oakland.

It should be noted, too, that the A's are standing by bench coach Ryan Christenson, who found himself in hot water after an NBC Sports California camera caught him inadvertently throwing up what looked like an offensive sign in the handshake line after a win last season.

Kotsay's reputation follows him outside of the Coliseum confines — the 45-year-old has interviewed for positions with other teams — including for the Detroit Tigers managerial position ultimately filled by former Astros manager AJ Hinch this year. He also interviewed for the Houston Astros managerial position filled by Dusty Baker and the San Francisco Giants job filled by Gabe Kapler in 2019.

Kotsay's promotion could be an effort to keep the highly-sought-after coach close. He's proven to be an invaluable mentor to the team, utility player Chad Pinder can attest.

"He's awesome," Pinder said by Thursday. "With him playing for so long and not being that far removed from his playing days, he's a guy that everyone gravitates toward."

 

Kotsay was destined to return to a field staff position — the A's created the quality control position, in essence, for Kotsay to squeeze as much of his expertise and observations into the clubhouse and dugout while allowing him time to deal with a family matter that forced him away from his bench coaching duties in 2016. Even as quality control coach of late, Kotsay still observed batting practice and helped with infield defense work.

Kotsay played 17 seasons with seven different teams, including four as a contact-hitting infielder with the Oakland A's from 2004-07. He retired in 2013 and promptly joined the San Diego Padres front office in 2014 and, then, as their hitting coach. He joined the A's in 2015 as their bench coach and was moved to quality control coach in 2017, a post he held until his move to third base coach for the 2021 season.

For players like Pinder, it's clear why the A's are intent on keeping a coach like Kotsay close. It's in the details.

Pinder recalls flubbing a situational hitting moment in one of his first big league games back in 2017. He didn't utter a word as he tried to slither unnoticed back to his seat in the dugout to hit himself over the missed opportunity. It was Kotsay who approached him with the right words.

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