SEATTLE — The buzz surrounding Frankie Montas as one of baseball’s most sought-after pitchers ahead of the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline has only heightened with each start. An early exit on Sunday, however, now leaves his immediate future in question.
On a cold Seattle afternoon with heavy rainfall in the surrounding area at first pitch, gloom came over the visiting dugout as the A’s saw their ace depart Sunday’s series finale 2-1 loss against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park after just one inning. Montas was later ruled to have experienced tightness in the back of his shoulder, with manager Mark Kotsay saying the right-hander is day-to-day.
“I don’t think it’s anything bad,” said Montas, who added that he’ll probably get an MRI back in Oakland. “Just some soreness and maybe inflammation. Nothing that I’m worried about.”
There was a cause for concern with how Montas’ stuff looked at the first. Surrendering a leadoff homer to Julio Rodríguez as part of a 13-pitch frame, Montas maxed out at just 94.5 mph with his fastball in the first. Overall, Montas’ velocity on his four-seamer was 2.4 mph lower than his season average, while the velocity on his sinker was 2.7 mph lower.
Though the A’s entered a rebuild this spring by trading away several stars, they held off on dealing away Montas in hopes of receiving a better offer during the season. Based on the right-hander’s numbers, that move appeared to be the right one. Entering Sunday, Montas held a 3.20 ERA over 16 starts. Among the American League starters, Montas ranked fifth in innings pitched (95 2/3), seventh in strikeouts (99), eighth in WHIP (1.09) and 12th in opponents’ batting average (.226).