BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox hired Oakland pitching coach Curt Young for the same position on Tuesday, impressed with his work with the Athletics over the years.
Young helped the A’s post the best ERA in the American League over the past seven seasons. They had an AL-best 3.56 ERA this year, when they led the league with 17 shutouts and allowed the fewest hits (1,315) and runs (626).
Now the 50-year-old who pitched in the majors for 11 seasons must lead a Red Sox staff that includes three stars coming off subpar years.
“You almost try not to be too involved sometimes with what guys are trying to do,” Young said on a conference call. “There’s always little things that help more than trying to make huge adjustments, especially at this level.”
Josh Beckett began the season as Boston’s No. 1 starter but was slowed by a back injury and went 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA. John Lackey was 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA in the first season of a five-year deal. Jonathan Papelbon (5-7, 3.90) had his worst season as a closer.
The staff is led by Jon Lester, who went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA last season, and Clay Buchholz, who had 17 wins and a 2.33 ERA.
Young replaces John Farrell, who left Boston last month to become Toronto’s new manager. Farrell helped develop Boston’s staff in his four years as pitching coach and had a hand in analyzing potential successors.
“As the year was coming to a close, I think it was pretty obvious that John Farrell was going to get a chance to manage,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I looked at internal candidates and external candidates throughout the game, just to be prepared, and then I asked John Farrell to do the same thing, and we both came up with Curt as the No. 1 choice.”
Young plans to talk with Farrell.
“He offered the other night when things slow down that he would be happy to talk to Curt,” Francona said. “John’s moved on and I know he’s in our division, but you don’t just stop caring about your pitching staff. These guys get awful close.”
Francona said he also interviewed Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel and scout Mike Cather, the former pitching coach for Boston’s Double-A team in Portland.
When Young became Oakland’s pitching coach in 2004, the staff was led by Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. In 2006, Zito, Dan Haren, and Joe Blanton topped the starting group. The last two years, the rotation included Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson.
“It’s good for myself that I started with veterans with Mulder and Hudson and you see the way veterans do things and you know what you want to see out of young guys eventually,” Young said.
Young, a lefthander, played for Oakland, Kansas City and the New York Yankees during his major league career, going 69-53 with a 4.31 ERA in 251 games, 162 starts.
“Pitchers who have worked with Curt swear by him,” Boston general manager Theo Epstein said, “and the results speak for themselves.”