In the hallway of the Oakland Coliseum, as A’s relief pitcher Ryan Madson was finishing his pregame workout routine, Royals manager Ned Yost came over and presented him with a piece of jewelry: a World Series ring.
“The big deal isn’t getting the ring, although I’m glad I have it,” Madson said. “It’s what we went through to get it. I was so glad to be a part of that. The whole experience, it was incredible. I’m so thankful for the time I had there. Not just the players, but the whole organization.
“It’s a place where they cared about you as a person, not just as a player. It’s not like that everywhere, so you have to point it out when it is like that.”
Madson hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2011 when he resurrected his career with the Royals in 2015. He appeared in 68 games and spun a career-best 2.13 ERA.
In the postseason, Madson had a couple of rough outings, surrendering consecutive home runs in the seventh inning of Game 4 of an American League Division Series that allowed the Astros to take a 6-2 lead.
In the sixth game of the American League Championship Series, he gave up Jose Bautista’s second home run that tied the game in the eighth.
But the Royals went on to win both games, and Madson pitched three scoreless innings in the World Series. He was the winning pitcher in the Game 4 comeback.
“He added another dimension to our pen last year,” Yost said. “He deepened our bullpen that much more.”
Madson parlayed his comeback season into a three-year, $22 million deal with the A’s and entering Friday’s game against his former teammates had surrendered two runs in five innings. Those came in his previous outings, against the Angels, ending a streak of 16 games (15 innings) without surrendering a run.