The Oakland A’s playoff odds just got longer, as starting pitcher Frankie Montas has been suspended for 80 games.
Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, Frankie Montas allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings with nine strikeouts and zero walks. He’s having a breakout season, but on Friday Jeff Passan of ESPN and others reported Montas has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
The MLB office named the substance, Ostarine, when announcing the suspension.
Montas was having a breakout season, with a 9-2 record and a 2.70 ERA (fifth in the American League) along with 97 strikeouts (9.7 K/9) and 21 walks (2.1 BB/9) over 90 innings (15 starts). Over his last nine starts, dating back through May, he posted a 2.54 ERA and a 67:11 K/BB ratio over 56.2 innings.
The A’s are 40-36 entering Friday’s action, eight games back in the AL West but just one game back of the second AL Wild Card.
The team released as statement on the suspension, as did Montas through the player’s union.
While I never intended to take any prohibited substance, I unfortunately and unknowingly ingested a contaminated supplement that I had purchased over-the-counter at a nutrition store here in the United States,” “That said, I respect MLB rules and understand my responsibilities under the Joint Drug Agreement, and accept full responsibility. I sincerely apologize to the A’s organization, the fans, my teammates, and my family for this mistake. My hope is to be able to return to the A’s later this season and contribute as best I can.
Oakland has played 76 games, so Montas will basically miss the rest of the season before coming back with six games to go. And if they do make the playoffs, all but surely as a Wild Card, they won’t have him available.
Top prospect Jesus Luzardo is on track to join the A’s rotation soon, but Montas’ suspension may turn them into a trade deadline seller rather quickly.