Ryan Christenson

Ryan Alan Christenson (born March 28, 1974) is an American professional baseball former outfielder, minor league manager, and current bench coach for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Ryan Christenson
Christenson with the Oakland Athletics in 2019
San Diego Padres – No. 20
Outfielder / Coach
Born: (1974-03-28) March 28, 1974
Redlands, California
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1998, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 2003, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Batting average.222
Home runs16
Runs batted in102
As player

As coach

He played six seasons in MLB with the Athletics (1998–2001), was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second half of the 2001 season, and played one season each with the Milwaukee Brewers (2002) and the Texas Rangers (2003). After his playing career ended, he began managing in the Athletics' farm system. He was promoted to Oakland's coaching staff in 2018.

Playing career

Oakland Athletics

Christenson attended Pepperdine University and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 10th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft. He played in his first professional season that year for the Class A Short Season Southern Oregon A's, batting .190/.286/.247.[1] In 1996, he played for Southern Oregon and the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps. In 1997, he advanced to the Class A-Advanced Visalia Oaks, Double-A Huntsville Stars, and Triple-A Edmonton Trappers. He began the 1998 season at Triple-A, but was called up to the Athletics and made his major league debut on April 20. Christenson started the 1999 season in Oakland, but was sent to the Triple-A Vancouver Canadians for a month. He returned to the big league club in late May, and batted .209/.305/.306 for the season. He spent the entire 2000 season with the A's. He played seven games at the start of the 2001 season with Oakland, going hitless in four at bats before being sent to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, for whom he batted .171/.216/.271.[1]

Arizona Diamondbacks

On June 19, 2001, Christenson was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Rob Ryan. He played four games with Arizona, but was then optioned to the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders. He was recalled to the majors at the September roster expansion.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers selected Christenson in the 2001 Rule 5 draft. He played the majority of the 2002 season in the minors, mostly with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, but also a few with the Rookie Arizona League Brewers. He was recalled by Milwaukee in September and played the rest of the season with them, batting .155/.222/.276. He was released after the season.

Texas Rangers

Having signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers for the 2003 season, Christenson split the year between the Rangers, for whom he batted .176/.255/.255, and their Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks. He was granted free agency at the season's end.

Florida Marlins

Christenson signed a minor league contract with the Florida Marlins for 2004. He played the entire season with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. This was his last season playing professional baseball. In all, he played in 452 major league games in his career, with 222 hits in 998 at-bats (a .222 batting average). He had 16 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and 102 RBI.

Managing career

Christenson (left) with the Beloit Snappers and John Tamargo with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013

After retiring from playing, Christenson began managing in the Oakland Athletics' minor league farm system in 2013. In his first year, he managed the Class A Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League.[2] In 2014, he was manager of the Class A-Advanced Stockton Ports of the California League.[3] He managed the Double-A Midland RockHounds of the Texas League in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.[4] The RockHounds won back-to-back league championships in his two seasons, and he was selected as the Texas League Manager of the Year in 2016.[5] In 2017, he managed the Triple-A Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League to a record of 68-71 (.489).[5][1]

Major league coaching

Christenson was promoted to bench coach with the Athletics for the 2018 season.[6]

Christenson generated controversy in August 2020 after appearing to perform a Nazi salute after a game. Pitcher Liam Hendriks sought to correct him by pushing his arm down and saying "No, no, no straight arm!"; Christenson, realizing his mistake, laughed and briefly repeated the gesture.[7][8][9] Christenson issued an apology the next day, stating “My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.” The A's responded with a statement: "A's bench coach Ryan Christenson greeted players with a gesture that looked like a Nazi salute. We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it."[10]

On December 3, 2021, Christenson was hired by the San Diego Padres to serve as the team's bench coach for the 2022 season.[11]


  1. "Ryan Christenson Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com.
  2. "A's Announce 2013 Snappers Field Staff". milb.com. February 20, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  3. "Ports Announce 2014 Field Staff". milb.com. November 12, 2013.
  4. Hards, Bob (December 2, 2014). "Changing of the guard - Ryan Christenson named RockHounds 2015 field manager". MiLB.com. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  5. "Sounds Announce 2017 Coaching Staff". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  6. Randhawa, Manny (October 19, 2017). "Christenson joins A's staff as bench coach". Oakland Athletics. Major League Baseball. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  7. "A's bench coach Ryan Christenson says he didn't intend Nazi salute after game". www.sportingnews.com.
  8. "No MLB Penalty For A's Coach After Gesture That Resembled Nazi Salute". August 7, 2020.
  9. Baer, Jack (August 7, 2020). "A's bench coach apologizes for apparent postgame Nazi salute, says it wasn't intentional". Yahoo Sports.
  10. Bieler, Des. "A's coach apologizes for 'racist and horrible salute' he says was unintentional". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  11. "Padres hiring Athletics' Ryan Christenson as bench coach". 3 December 2021.
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