After a turbulent season with the Boston Red Sox, Curt Young landed on his feet and in familiar terrain.
Young rejoined the A's on Friday as their pitching coach, signing a one-year contract with the franchise with which he's spent 23 years as a player and coach.
He replaces Ron Romanick, who spent one season as pitching coach and was not retained.
"It's a good feeling, knowing that (manager) Bob Melvin wants me to be part of his staff and the front office is comfortable bringing me back," Young, 51, said.
After a seven-year stint as A's pitching coach, Young took the same role last winter with the Red Sox, who entered 2011 as World Series favorites in the eyes of many. But a 7-20 collapse in September KO'd the Red Sox from the postseason.
With manager Terry Francona being shown the door, the team granted Young permission to interview with the A's despite having a year left on his contract.
Young's Boston staff posted a 5.84 ERA in September, and he's still coming to grips with how things slipped away.
"You think you did everything you can do to avoid that from happening," Young said. "(Maybe) it's something we can talk about as an A's staff when we get in that position, or when the season begins. I guess you learn from everything."
After the season, stories surfaced of Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drinking beer in the clubhouse on days they weren't pitching.
"It's definitely something we all know is wrong," Young said. "I was never in the clubhouse to see it, and I definitely don't think it affected us in the win/loss column at all."
With Young as pitching coach from 2004-10, the A's led the American League in ERA (4.03) over that span.
Left-hander Dallas Brad-en said Young's familiarity with Oakland's staff will pay dividends.
"It's kind of like an uncle coming back to live with you for a while," Braden joked.
Melvin called Young "one of the more respected pitching coaches in the game." Melvin also acknowledged that the A's were denied permission to talk with Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, with whom Melvin has strong ties.
But Melvin and Young were Kansas City Royals teammates in 1992 and golfing buddies when Melvin lived in Arizona.
"We had two targets," Melvin said of the pitching coach search. "Either one, we would have been completely happy with."
The A's still need a hitting coach to replace Gerald Perry, whose contract was not renewed. Their top target is known to be Mike Aldrete, an assistant hitting coach with St. Louis. The A's can't interview Aldrete, a Stanford alum who played for the A's and Giants, until the World Series ends.
They're also without a bullpen coach, though Melvin said Rick Rodriguez is a candidate to return to that role.