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Athletics promote coaches from within: Darren Bush named hitting coach; Scott Emerson and Marcus Jensen moving up

Darren Bush was named hitting coach to replace Chili Davis, Scott Emerson is the new bullpen coach, and Marcus Jensen is assistant hitting/catching coach. Ariel Prieto will not continue on the Oakland coaching staff, but will be offered another position in the Athletics organization.

Darren Bush has been promoted from Bullpen Coach to Hitting Coach.
Darren Bush has been promoted from Bullpen Coach to Hitting Coach.

The Oakland Athletics announced via Twitter that 2013-14 Bullpen Coach Darren Bush has been promoted to Hitting Coach, 2013-14 Minor League Pitching Coordinator Scott Emerson has been promoted to Bullpen Coach, and 2014 Minor League Hitting Coordinator Marcus Jensen has been named the assistant hitting/catching coach.

Hitting Coach Darren Bush

The Athletics had been in talks with Los Angeles Angels hitting coach Dave Hansen, but the A's elected to promote from within, naming Darren Bush their hitting coach for 2015. Bush, 40, had been Bullpen Coach for 2013-14, which was his first Major League staff assignment. Prior to joining Oakland, Bush managed Oakland's minor league teams for six seasons, including back-to-back division titles with the Sacramento River Cats in 2011 and 2012, a Texas League Championship with the Midland Rockhounds in 2009, and a California League Championship with the Stockton Ports in 2008.

Bush's playing career began in the independent Frontier League in 1996 before joining the San Diego Padres organization at the Single-A level from 1999-2000 and the Philadelphia Phillies for Single-A ball in 2001.

Bullpen Coach Scott Emerson

Scott Emerson, 42, moves from Minor League Pitching Coordinator to the Oakland bullpen in place of Darren Bush. Before becoming pitching instructor, Emerson was a pitching coach in the A's minor league system for ten seasons. A quick search of the Athletics Nation archives brings up a few mentions.

First, Kurt Suzuki lauded Scott Emerson's coaching back in 2005 in an interview with AN's Tyler Bleszinski ("Meet Kurt Suzuki; Future A's Catcher" June 5, 2005):

Blez: How do you like to call a game?

Suzuki: I love calling my game. The beginning of the season was a little rough. My first full professional season I really tried to learn the philosophy of the Oakland organization and (Ports pitching coach) Scott Emerson has been a real huge help. We had very different points of view early in the season. He's really been working with me and teaching me lots of stuff. It's starting to help now and I'm really understanding the philosophy.

Blez: Can you share that philosophy from the pitching/catching standpoint in terms of calling a game?

Suzuki: Mainly just making sure you throw strikes and keeping the hitters off balance. You just keep it all mixed up and the hitters are confused and don't know what's coming. The main thing is throwing strikes. If you throw strikes with every pitch, you're going to be successful the majority of the time.

Scott Emerson is lauded again in 2011, this time with A's pitcher Bobby Cramer sitting down with AN's flashfire ("Bobby Cramer Interview, Pre-Spring Training, Part 2" Feb. 10, 2011):

AN: Before we get into that upcoming season, I wanted to go back to the past one more time and just talk about some of the people that have helped or influenced you so far. I'd assume Anthony Recker is one, since it looks like he's caught you pretty frequently. How about the organization's pitching coaches and its general philosophy along with support from your parents, friends, anybody else?

BC: Yeah, from within the organization I spent a lot of time with "Emo," Scott Emerson. Without using a bad word I can't tell you the phrase he actually said to us but he's like, "You gotta feel like you're a big leaguer being in Stockton or Double-A, or a big leaguer being stuck in Triple-A," and I've always kept that mentality. He's worked with me a lot, Darren Bush...I've had a couple of coaches that sat me down and told me, "Hey, I'm not just saying this to blow smoke up your ass. I'm telling you because I truly believe that you can pitch in the Major Leagues," and when you hear that from a coach within the organization it gives you the confidence that, "Hey, maybe I can," and that's a big part of it is just believing that you can, believing you can and just following that belief.

Various other articles from Bill Moriarty of Athletics Farm the last couple of years seem to always accompany mentions of Scott Emerson with phrases like "noticed something and changed for the better" or "hand him over to Scott and the sky's the limit."

Assistant Hitting/Catching Coach Marcus Jensen

Marcus Jensen, 41, was Oakland's Minor League Hitting Coordinator in 2014. The position of assistant hitting/catching coach is a new one for the Athletics:

Jensen managed the A's Arizona Rookie League team from 2009-13 and was the team's Rookie League hitting coach prior to that. Jensen played catcher for seven different teams in seven seasons: San Francisco, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Minnesota, Boston, and Texas.

Ariel Prieto

Ariel Prieto will not continue in the role of coach, with Jensen taking his spot on the bench. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, however, that Ariel Prieto will be offered a position elsewhere in the organization.