The San Diego Padres have already plucked away one coach from the Oakland Athletics this winter, hiring manager Bob Melvin to fill the same position. Now, it appears the Padres will do the same with Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson, according to a report from The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.
Christenson, 47 years old, had served as Melvin’s bench coach with the Athletics dating back to the 2018 season. He became embroiled in controversy during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when he made a gesture that resembled a Nazi salute as he greeted players returning to the dugout following an Oakland victory. He claimed the gesture was not intentional as part of an apology.
“I made a mistake and will not deny it. Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive,” he said in a statement. “In the world today of Covid, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did was unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”
Prior to joining the Athletics’ big-league staff, Christenson had served as a manager and coach in their minor-league system.
Christenson was originally selected by the Athletics in the 10th round of the 1995 draft. He would enjoy a playing career that saw him appear in parts of six big-league seasons, including as a member of the Athletics in four of those campaigns. All total, he hit .222/.303/.329 (66 OPS+) with 16 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and 0.2 Wins Above Replacement.
The Padres, according to Lin, are expected to name their full coaching staff next week. The Athletics, yet to name a replacement for Melvin, will now have to also find a successor for Christenson.