OAKLAND, Calif. — With his banged-up team mired in a nine-game skid, A's GM Billy Beane believed he had no other choice than to make a change.
So Thursday, Oakland fired a manager during the season for the first time in a quarter-century, letting Bob Geren go after four-plus seasons and bringing in former Arizona and Seattle manager Bob Melvin for at the least the rest of the season.
"It got to the point where the emphasis was on the status of the manager on a daily basis and no longer on the field," Beane said. "When that starts to happen, you need to shift the focus to what's really important, which is performance."
Geren, who was unavailable for comment, went 334-376, including 27-36 this season.
The A's are last in the AL with 223 runs and have four starting pitchers on the DL, including a season-ending shoulder injury for Dallas Braden. They also were without injured All-Star closer Andrew Bailey for the first two months.
Melvin, a Bay Area native, went 493-508 in seven seasons in Seattle and Arizona, leading Arizona to a division title in 2007.
"It's a dream come true," he said. "This doesn't happen very often in baseball; where you literally get to come home in the capacity that I do."
Geren came under criticism from his bullpen in recent weeks for a lack of communication with reliever Brian Fuentes, and former Oakland closer Huston Street publicly criticized him.
"I can't say it was a surprise," Fuentes said. "Regardless … when things don't go well, there are always moves that are made."
This is the first time the A's have fired a manager during the season since getting rid of Jackie Moore in 1986. Jeff Newman took over for 10 games before Tony La Russa was brought in to start a run that included four division titles, three World Series berths and the 1989 title.
Yankees reliever likely needs major surgery
NEW YORK — Yankees RH reliever Joba Chamberlain has a torn ligament in his right elbow. He likely will require ligament replacement surgery (also known as Tommy John surgery), which could keep him out for all of next season. But a final decision hasn't been made, and there is no timetable to do so.
A test Thursday revealed the tear. It came a day after Chamberlain went on the DL with a stiff elbow. But Chamberlain and the Yankees said they had no idea the injury was so severe. Chamberlain said he was "kind of in shock" and shed a few tears. He added he didn't know how or when he hurt himself.
"I know I can get surgery and get it fixed," he said.
Indians: DH Travis Hafner is set to take batting practice today for the first time since going on the DL with a strained side muscle on May 20. If it goes well, a rehab stint will come soon after.
Marlins: Eduardo Perez left his job as an ESPN analyst to become hitting coach. Perez played at Florida State then 13 seasons in the majors, including 2004-05 with the Rays. He replaces John Mallee, who was fired Wednesday.
Mets: Manager Terry Collins said he will sit LF Jason Bay for at least two games to help him end a hitless streak that has reached a career-high 23 at-bats. Overall, Bay, 32, is hitting .207 with two homers and 10 RBIs.
Pirates: C Chris Snyder went on the DL with a herniated disc and is set for surgery today.
Red Sox: An exam found 2B Dustin Pedroia has a bone bruise on his right kneecap, but he is expected to play tonight.
Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, was called up and is set to start tonight. The second overall pick in 2007 was hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs at Triple A.
Twins: CF Denard Span was out of the lineup for the fifth time in six games because of whiplash from a home-plate collision last week. Span, a graduate of Tampa Catholic, said his dizziness has subsided but the pain remains.