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Monday, October 30, 2006
A's schedule interviews for manager job

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland bench coach Bob Geren interviewed for the Athletics' managerial opening Monday, sitting down for 3½ hours in the first formal meeting with general manager Billy Beane and other team officials about the job.

Geren, someone the A's have long believed is manager material, is considered a favorite to replace fired skipper Ken Macha.

"What was nice is I knew everybody in the room," Geren said in a phone interview. "I have prior experience with everybody in the room. Everybody knew me going in and I think they know me even better now. I felt I exposed who I was and what I could bring to the table. I thought we covered everything. It was wonderful."

The 45-year-old Geren spent the 2006 season as bench coach after three seasons as bullpen coach in his first stint on a major league coaching staff. He joined the organization in 1999 as manager of Class-A Modesto, then spent the next three seasons managing at Triple-A Sacramento.

Beane is taking his time hiring a manager and has a series of interviews scheduled this week and next week, including Tuesday with longtime A's third-base coach Ron Washington.

Japan Series championship manager Trey Hillman will interview Wednesday, Colorado Rockies bench coach Jamie Quirk on Nov. 7, then Orel Hershiser -- currently an ESPN baseball analyst -- the next day.

In addition, the A's received permission to speak to Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black, who is also considered a leading candidate to replace Bruce Bochy as San Diego's skipper. Bochy was hired as the manager of the San Francisco Giants last week. A meeting with Black hasn't been scheduled.

Beane fired Macha on Oct. 16, two days after Oakland's season ended in a sweep by the wild-card Detroit Tigers in the AL championship series. The A's won a playoff series for the first time since 1990, ending a string of four straight first-round exits from 2000-03.

Geren considers his experience as bench coach this past season a "real advantage" and crucial in preparing him to make the next step. He and Washington also interviewed last year when the A's briefly cut ties with Macha before re-signing him about a week later.

"Having that No. 2 seat, it was the height of coaching for me," Geren said. "You're on your toes and have to stay so sharp. It's like shadowing and being the assistant of the boss. You're thinking along the lines of everything he does or a little different lines. If you have a suggestion, you make it."

Geren said several questions came up in Monday's interview about the 2006 season and how the club should go forward in the future.

Geren, a catcher for five seasons with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres, played high school baseball against Beane in San Diego and the two remain good friends. They signed professional contracts one year apart.

That relationship, Geren insists, will have little to do with whether he is hired. Yet the mutual trust clearly could be beneficial in their day-to-day dealings over the course of a season.

"I know who I am as a baseball man and know what I have done to get ready for this spot," said Geren, who had a 452-390 record as a minor league manager. "Because I know him is irrelevant to whether I am ready or not. Having managed at all levels and in the Dominican Republic, that is what is going to propel me into this role if I am chosen."