MESA, Ariz. -– One of the most sure-handed infielders in A’s history will drop in as a guest spring instructor next month.
Mark Ellis will spend about a week in Oakland’s camp, working in particular with the middle infielders. Ellis played with the A’s from 2002-11, making for a natural reunion. Upon his retirement last spring, the A’s made it clear to Ellis that there would be a job waiting for him within the organization if he wanted one.
His first coaching gig will be a temporary one that A’s manager Bob Melvin said is tentatively set to begin March 6.
“I had him a short time before he got traded (to Colorado in 2011),” Melvin said. “It was very apparent that this is the kind of guy you’re gonna want in an organization if he wants to coach at whatever pace he wants to come back in. So we put that invitation out a while ago and we’re lucky to be able to get him into camp and see where we go with it.”
Ellis’ career fielding percentage of .991 is fifth all-time among major league second basemen according to Baseball-Reference.com, and he’s without question one of the top defensive second basemen in A’s franchise history.
Rickey Henderson has served as a guest spring instructor in recent years and spent time as a roving minor league instructor during the regular season. Melvin looks forward to the chance for Ellis to work with Jed Lowrie, a veteran who is shifting back to second base after spending recent seasons manning shortstop or third.
Being that A’s coaches have said Joey Wendle, who played second at Triple-A last year, has traits that remind them of Ellis, it figures those two will spend time together as well.
“It works well timing-wise with Jed not playing the position in a while,” Melvin said. “Whenever you can have an elite defender like Mark come here and work with those guys, everybody benefits by it.”