The Oakland Athletics yesterday rehired Manager Ken Macha, just more than a week after they failed to reach terms to renew his contract after three years.

The Athletics announced that the club reached a three-year agreement that will keep Macha under contract through the 2008 season.

Macha led Oakland to the AL West title in his first year as manager in 2003, the club's fourth straight playoff berth. But Oakland has failed to reach the postseason the past two years despite a 91-win season in 2004 and 88 victories this year.

Macha, 55, called it one of several "massive disappointments" in his seven years with the team when the sides couldn't reach a deal Oct. 5.

The Athletics interviewed both bullpen coach Bob Geren, a close friend of General Manager Billy Beane, and third base coach Ron Washington for the opening, while Macha interviewed for the vacancy with the Pittsburgh Pirates that was filled with former Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. Earlier this week, Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser was cleared to interview with Oakland for the managerial vacancy.

Macha said he called Beane after receiving a handwritten letter from Athletics owner Lewis Wolff thanking him for his service to the club.

"The discussion gravitated toward the possibility of coming back, and I was very receptive to that," Macha said on a conference call. "Billy [Beane] has a lot of trust in what I do on the field, otherwise he would have decided to go get somebody else."

Macha and Beane have had their tense moments, but Macha hoped he would receive some credit for getting Oakland to win this season with young players and an injury-plagued roster.

"It's good to have him back," right fielder Nick Swisher said in a phone interview from his home in West Virginia. "Macha's a great manager and he knows the game. I'm excited for next season to get started. Billy knows what he's doing. Just like everyone else in this organization, he's always going to push us in the right direction."

-- From News Services