A's fire Bob Geren -- Melvin named interim manager

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A's fire Bob Geren -- Melvin named interim manager

June 9, 2011

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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

In the middle of a nine-game losing streak, the A's on Thursday fired Bob Geren as manager and replaced him with Bob Melvin as interim manager for the remainder of the season.

A's general manager Billy Beane called it a "drastic move" in a conference call with reporters, indicating that continued speculation about Geren's job status helped move his hand.

"A change is necessary when the focus is on the status of the manager on a daily basis and no longer on the field," Beane said. "You have to shift the focus on the performance.

"We need to shift the focus back on the fieldthis was well-thought out over time."

RATTO: Firing Geren a start to fixing woeful A's

Beane would not say of players had approached him about making a change but did say, "Bob Melvin will inherit some of the challenges Bob (Geren) left. He lost four starting pitchers in the span of four weeks."

Geren, 49, had been named manager on Nov. 17, 2006 and was 334-376 (.470) in four-plus seasons. His rosters had been best by injury but this year's club, with exceptional starting pitching, was expected to contend. Instead, the A's are 27-36 and in last place in the American League West, eight games behind first-place Texas.

When hired, Geren was taking over a team coming of an appearance in the American League Championship Series, where it had been swept by the Detroit Tigers. Many observers wondered about Geren's credentials since his relationship with general manager Billy Beane and being in his wedding was well known.

"That was a problem at first," former Athletics pitcher Dan Haren told CSNCalifornia.com on May 25, in the wake of first-year A's reliever Brian Fuentes venting to the media about Geren's managerial and communication skills.

"There was a feeling like Billy was running the team through Bob"

Melvin, meanwhile, is seen as his own man and manager in baseball circles. A native of Palo Alto who graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park in 1979 before playing baseball at Cal, the 49-year-old Melvin is the winningest manager in Arizona Diamondbacks history, going 337-340 from 2005 through 2009.

Beane said it was not fair to compare the two "Bobs" as managers.

"Bob's got the rest of this year to make an impact," Beane said of Melvin.

Melvin was the National League manager of the year in 2007 after guiding the Diamondbacks to a league-best 90-72 record. He also served as the Seattle Mariners' manager in 2003 and 2004, going 93-69 as a rookie manager.

Melvin was Bob Brenly's bench coach for the 2001 World Series champion Diamondbacks and has also worked for Phil Garner in Milwaukee (1999) and Detroit (2000). He was also was a scout for Milwaukee in 1996, roving instructor in 1997 and an assistant to general manager Sal Bando in 1998.

Last month, Melvin rejoined Arizona as a special baseball advisor to President and CEO Derrick Hall.

As a player, Melvin spent 10 season in the big leagues after Detroit drafted him as its first selection in the January, 1981 draft. A catcher, he batted .233 with 35 home runs and 212 RBI in 692 career games. He played with the Tigers (1985), Giants (1986-88), Baltimore (1989-91), Kansas City (1992), Boston (1993), the Yankees (1994) and White Sox (1994).

Many of Geren's critics have said he was a "good man," but wondered if Geren was a good "baseball man."

Beane said he was both.

"He's a great baseball man," Beane said. "If you look at his history, look, we've had a terrible run of injuries. Definitively, he's a baseball man, and will continue to be one going forward."

Beane, though, would not say of Geren would remain with three organization, instead saying his best friend was on his way back to the Bay Area for one of his son's high school graduation.

"Any time, letting somebody go, it's never easy, regardless of relationships," Beane said, adding that their friendship may have actually helped the conversation move along that he was being fired.

Geren seemingly had the support of A's owner Lew Wolff in the days following the Fuentes episode.

"I think Bob's fantastic," Wolff said at the time. "Bob's fine, terrific. It's a tough job."

Too tough, it appears.

A'S STATEMENT
OAKLAND, Calif.Oakland Athletics Vice President & General Manager Billy Beane announced today that Bob Geren has been relieved of his duties as manager and former Major League manager Bob Melvin has been named interim manager for the remainder of the 2011 season. Geren, 49, was named the As manager on Nov. 17, 2006. He registered a 334-376 (.470) record in four-plus seasons with Oakland, including a 27-36 mark and last-place standing in the American League West this year.The Arizona Diamondbacks all-time winningest manager, Melvin arrives in Chicago today and will assume his managerial duties tonight when the As open a four-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The 49-year-old Palo Alto, Calif. native has compiled an overall record of 493-508 in seven previous seasons as a Major League manager from 2003-09 with the Seattle Mariners (156-168, 2003-04) and Diamondbacks (337-340, 2005-09).In his rookie managerial season, he directed the Mariners to a 93-69 record in 2003. Four years later, he won National League Manager of the Year honors after piloting Arizona to a league-best 90-72 mark and the NL West Division title in 2007. Melvin also served as the Diamondbacks bench coach on Bob Brenlys coaching staff from 2001-02, when Arizona won the World Series in 2001 and the NL West Division championship in 2002. In addition, he held positions as Phil Garners bench coach for Milwaukee in 1999 and Detroit in 2000. Prior to those bench coach roles, he spent three seasons with Milwaukee in various capacities, serving as a scout in 1996, roving instructor in 1997 and as assistant to General Manager Sal Bando in 1998. Most recently, Melvin had rejoined the Diamondbacks as a special baseball advisor to President & CEO Derrick Hall last month, assisting the baseball operations department and other business divisions of the organization.Melvin graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park, Calif. in 1979 and later attended and played baseball at the University of California in Berkeley. Detroit selected him as its first choice in the secondary phase of the 1981 January draft and the former catcher posted a .233 batting average with 35 home runs and 212 RBI while playing in 692 games during his 10-year Major League career with the Tigers (1985), San Francisco Giants (1986-88), Baltimore Orioles (1989-91), Kansas City Royals (1992), Boston Red Sox (1993), New York Yankees (1994) and Chicago White Sox (1994).Geren first joined the As organization as a minor league manager in 1999, serving one season at Single-A Modesto before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento in 2000. After three years with the River Cats, he was named to the major league coaching staff, where he was bullpen coach from 2003-05 and bench coach in 2006. His best season as Oaklands manager came last year, when he guided the As to an 81-81 record and second-place finish in the AL West. He led the team to finishes of 76-86 in 2007, 75-86 in 2008 and 75-87 in 2009.Melvin becomes the 29th manager in franchise history and 18th in Oakland annals.

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds stepped into Giants' broadcast booth with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow during the top of the third inning Sunday and Kuiper immediately brought up the shape Bonds is in at 52 years old. 

"Still think you can play, probably?" Kuiper asked Bonds. 

After giving Kuiper the look, Bonds replied, "About an inning or two."

Moments later, the cameras moved to McCovey Cove past the right field wall at AT&T Park where Bonds famously hit home runs deep into the water. Of the 73 Splash Hits off Giants bats into the cove, Bonds is responsible for 35 of them. 

Now an avid cyclist who still picks up a bat from time to time, Bonds is fully confident that number would rise if he stepped into the batter's box again. 

"I promise you I will," Bonds replied when Krukow asked if he could still hit home runs into the water. "Without a doubt." 

Krukow predicted Bonds would need 10 swings to get it done. Bonds says he might need just a few more.

"Well it would take me eight swings to get warmed up, three pop ups and then I'd get it," he said with a laugh. 

During spring training this year, Bonds joined the Giants as a special instructor. And he proved his claim of more Splash Hits could certainly be true as he showed off his legendary swing and cracked balls over the wall in Scottsdale

Bonds hit his final home run of his career, No. 762, on Sept. 5, 2007 on the road against the Rockies in a 5-3 Giants win. The Giants are adding Bonds to their Wall of Fame on July 8. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.