Bob Geren returns to the A's dugout after arguing a call during a game… (Kelley L. Cox / US Presswire )
The Oakland Athletics fired manager Bob Geren on Thursday in the midst of a nine-game losing streak that has sent them tumbling to the bottom of the AL West standings.
"It felt like at this point a change was necessary," General Manager Billy Beane said. "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. When that starts to happen, you need to shift the focus to what's really important, which is performance."
Former Arizona manager Bob Melvin was named to take over for the rest of the season as interim manager in the first midseason managerial change for the organization in a quarter century.
The A's currently have four starting pitchers on the disabled list, including a season-ending shoulder injury for Dallas Braden. Oakland also was without injured All-Star closer Andrew Bailey for the first two months and is last in the American League with just 223 runs through the first 63 games.
"Bob Melvin will inherit some of the challenges that Bob had," Beane said. "Bob lost four starting pitchers in the space of three weeks. That was a tough body blow for the team. That was very difficult from Bob's standpoint. We also have to be realistic here starting out of the gate how we manage around those four guys on the disabled list."
The beleaguered manager had come 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.
Melvin, 49, a Bay Area native, posted a 493-508 record in seven seasons as manager with Seattle and Arizona.
Nadal, Roddick, Murray win at Queen's Club
Rafael Nadal was taken to three sets by Radek Stepanek before advancing to the quarterfinals at Queen's Club in London.
The French Open champion won, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, to join third-seeded Andy Roddick and second-seeded Andy Murray in the last eight.
Roddick, who is bidding for his fifth title at Queen's Club, defeated 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa, 6-4, 6-4. Murray beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Mattek-Sands advances at Copenhagen
Third-seeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States recovered to beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden, 6-7 (1), 6-0, 7-6 (5), in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open at Copenhagen.
Mattek-Sands will meet German qualifier Mona Barthel in the quarterfinals, and could face top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the last four.
D-Fenders returning to L.A.
The Los Angeles D-Fenders are returning to the NBA's Development League for the upcoming season after a one-year hiatus.
The D-Fenders, owned and operated by the Los Angeles Lakers, will move their home games from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, where the Lakers practice.
Former surfing champion Andy Irons had several drugs in his system when he died of a heart attack at age 32 in a Dallas-area hotel room seven months ago, according to autopsy results released by his family.
Irons' family released the results of the autopsy Thursday, which show the three-time world champion from Hawaii died from sudden cardiac arrest due to severe blockage of a main artery. The official autopsy report, prepared by Tarrant County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nizam Peerwani, also lists "acute mixed drug ingestion" as a secondary cause, but that is being disputed by the family.
The Milwaukee Bucks have given the Detroit Pistons permission to interview assistant Kelvin Sampson for their vacant head coaching job, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press.
The LA84 Foundation, which manages surplus funds from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, announced that is awarding almost $1.3 million in grants to support 30 Southern California youth sports programs. The foundation has invested $199 million in sports programs since being established in 1985.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was arrested again in New Jersey, a day after appearing in court for a previous arrest on traffic charges. Police said the former Rutgers star was charged with resisting arrest after two plainclothes officers suspected he was carrying a marijuana cigar and attempted to handcuff him at a Hoboken carwash Wednesday evening.
Former NBA All-Star Mike Mitchell, who played 10 seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, died Thursday in San Antonio after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 55.