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Oakland Athletics pitcher Joe Blanton gestures to manager Bob Geren (53) after being ejected in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Sunday, July 8, 2007, in Oakland, Calif. The altercation started when Blanton pushed Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki away from a live ball, leading to a bench clearing incident in which Blanton and Mariners' Miguel Batista were ejected. Seattle won, 7-3.
Three members of the A's coaching staff will not be returning next season.

Bench coach Bob Schaefer, third base coach Rene Lachemann and bullpen coach Brad Fischer will not have their contracts renewed, according to a team release Saturday.

Fischer and Lachemann were holdovers from former manager Ken Macha's staff, while Schaefer was brought in before this past season by first-year manager Bob Geren.

"I got hired late in the offseason last year," Geren said. "This is the first time I've got an opportunity to pick my own staff. I wanted a chance to bring in a couple of my own people."

Fischer just completed his 29th season in the A's organization, working the past 11 either as bullpen coach or first-base coach. Lachemann worked on the A's staff for the past three seasons, his second stint as an assistant in Oakland.

General manager Billy Beane hinted that there could be coaching changes when he said Monday he wanted to give Geren a chance to hand-pick an entire staff of his own.

Schaefer, who makes his home in Fort Myers, Fla., said coaching on the West Coast was a strain on him.

"It was too tough in a lot of ways. I didn't feel bad about it," Schaefer said. "I was surprised about 'Lach' and 'Fisch'. That's three veteran guys not there anymore. What can you say? Bob's got the authority to pick his guys and do what he thinks he's got to do. There are no hard feelings on my part."

Hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Curt Young and first-base coach Tye Waller will be back.


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Cubs: Holy Cow! This is no way to exorcise the billy goat curse.

A grainy 14-second video posted on YouTube this week shows Chicago police cutting down what looks like a skinned goat's carcass from the right arm of the Harry Caray statue outside Wrigley Field.

Gary Yamashiroya, commander of the Chicago Police district that includes Wrigley, told the Chicago Sun-Times in a story posted Saturday on its Web site that officers were called out to the ballpark at 5:35 a.m. Wednesday to check out reports of something hanging from the bronze statue.