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GM could be contemplating roster changes

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane addressed manager Ken Macha and his coaching staff in a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the state of the slumping team.

The A's entered a six-game homestand Friday night with a season-long five-game losing streak. Oakland, which made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, had lost eight of nine overall to fall a season-worst six games below .500.

Beane, who didn't return a phone call seeking comment, could be contemplating changes to his roster. Three team officials confirmed the meeting, saying Beane focused on personnel matters and gave a vote of confidence to his staff.

The A's are in a profound tailspin on offense. They began Friday last in the majors with just 120 runs this season, while their batting average (.235), slugging percentage (.338) and 73 extra-base hits are also the worst in the majors.

Not surprisingly, first baseman Dan Johnson's name came up in the meeting. Oakland's top hitting prospect began the day batting .305 with six homers and 29 RBI in 34 games for Triple-A Sacramento, and he seems ready for a promotion.

It's difficult to know how long the A's can afford to keep both designated hitter Erubiel Durazo and first baseman Scott Hatteberg in the lineup while still giving Johnson enough playing time once he is called up. Durazo began the day hitting .248 with just four homers, while Hatteberg was batting .264.

There has even been speculation about Macha's job status this week. Macha, who led Oakland to a division title as a rookie manager in 2003, refused to confirm any particulars about the meeting.

"If I do have a meeting with somebody, I'll do it outside the public view," Macha said.

Oakland has endured slow starts in previous years of Beane's tenure, but it has rarely been this dramatic. The A's were swept by AL West rival Texas at home last week and then lost two of three at Yankee Stadium before being swept again, this time by the World Series champion Red Sox earlier this week.

Closer Octavio Dotel blew consecutive save opportunities in the final two games at Fenway Park.