NEW YORK -- Seeking to add Major League experience to their coaching staff, the Mets on Friday named former A's manager Bob Geren the bench coach to Terry Collins.

"Bob Geren's experience as a former manager and bench coach will be a great fit for us," Collins said in a statement. "Adding a former major league catcher like Bob to our staff will be ideal."

Geren beat out former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, whose history with Collins dates back to their time together as Minor League teammates in the 1970s. In hiring Geren, whose catching background includes five big league seasons as a backstop, the Mets can more comfortably proceed with a former pitcher, Ricky Bones, as their bullpen coach.

The A's dismissed Geren, 50, as manager in June amidst a public spat with then-closer Brian Fuentes, who criticized Geren for "unorthodox" managing and for having "zero" communication with him. Geren's replacement in Oakland, Bob Melvin, was a finalist for the Mets' managerial job that ultimately went to Collins last winter.

Beginning his coaching career as a Minor League manager in the Red Sox organization in the 1990s, Geren eventually moved to the A's as a Minor League manager, big league bench coach and, beginning in 2007, manager. His original hiring in Oakland came courtesy of a front office staffed by current Mets executives Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi, and he was part of the coaching staff that helped guide the A's to AL West titles in 2003 and 2006.

Geren posted a 334-376 record in four and a half years managing the A's.

The Mets have also begun the process of interviewing first-base coach candidates. The front office has interviewed Minor League infield coordinator Kevin Morgan and outfield coordinator Jack Voigt for the position, according to a source, and expects to add multiple names to its list of candidates in the coming days.

Morgan, 41, played four of his seven Minor League seasons in the Mets organization, cracking the big league roster for one plate appearance in 1997. Voight played parts of seven seasons with the Orioles, Rangers, Brewers and A's and was Triple-A Buffalo's hitting coach in 2010.

After third-base coach Chip Hale left New York to become Oakland's bench coach earlier this month, the Mets engineered a surprise coaching shakeup, relieving bench coach Ken Oberkfell, bullpen coach Jon Debus and first-base coach Mookie Wilson of their duties. Tim Teufel was named third-base coach and Bones as bullpen coach.