06/10/2009 2:50 PM ET
Springer: Oakland's elder statesman
Athletics reliever happy to advise, happier to pitch
I was surprised to hear at the beginning of the season that I had pitched in more games in the big leagues than the rest of my fellow A's pitchers combined. This team is young, especially the pitching staff, but I love the energy level. You hang around all these guys, and it makes you feel young. It's a great place to be and a good fit.
As a free agent this past winter, I wasn't just going to go play anywhere. I talked to some guys like Jason Isringhausen and Mark Mulder -- guys whom I played with in St. Louis who had played in Oakland before -- and they loved their time here.
I've had a long career, but the big thing for me now, at the end of my career, is to have a chance to win. I've been lucky enough to go to the playoffs six or seven times, and I want to do it again.
Earlier in my career, I had a hard time staying healthy. I had about six surgeries. I haven't had any since then, and I feel healthier now as an old guy than I did as a young pup. I've had more success as an old man, too.
I never was an All-Star or a big name guy, but I'm proud of my longevity and being able to throw heat as a 40-year-old.
I think I've brought a good deal of experience to the A's staff here, but I'm not here to coach these young guys. I'm here to pitch. If anybody needs anything from me, however, I will be there for them. They know that.
I was lucky to have people help me out when I was a young guy coming up in the league, so it's only right that I do the same. Some of them have come up and talked with me, and I'm happy to help in any way I can. I'm going to try to make them as comfortable as possible and help them succeed with the talent they have.
We do have solid, successful veterans to go along with our core group of young, talented players. As veterans, we're trying to let them come in and be comfortable. We're going to be relaxed and have a good time and hopefully win some ball games.
Russ Springer, who was drafted by the Yankees in the seventh round in 1989 and broke into the big leagues with New York in 1992, has since played for the Angels, Phillies, Astros (twice), Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals (twice) and now the Athletics.