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Athletics’ Frankie Montas suspended 80 games for PED use

This is a bad look for a pitcher who looked like a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate up to this point.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers Photo by Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Athletics right-handed starting pitcher Frankie Montas has been suspended 80 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday afternoon.

Montas tested positive for Ostarine, a drug intendeed to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Through a statement released Friday, he claimed that he unknowingly ingested a contaminated supplement:

Montas, who was once regarded as a top prospect but had seen his star fade a bit as he struggled to stick in the big leagues, was in the midst of a breakout season and looked like a serious AL Cy Young candidate prior to the suspension news. The 26-year-old Montas is tied for third in the AL in wins (9) and ranks fifth in ERA (2.70), 15th in innings (90.0), 12th in strikeouts (97), and 15th in WHIP (1.12), and it would have been a major surprise if he wasn’t named to his first All-Star team in a couple weeks, though this news obviously eliminates that possibility.

At 40-36, the A’s are a game out of the second AL Wild Card spot, and though this development could motivate them to pursue an experienced starting pitcher on the trade market, it could just as easily cause them to re-evaluate their plans of contending this year and consider moving veterans like Robbie Grossman, Mike Fiers, Liam Hendriks, Yusmeiro Petit, and Brett Anderson prior to the deadline. This effectively ends Montas’ season, though they could get some reinforcements soon as rehabbing rookies A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo (neither of whom have any MLB experience) return to full health and ace Sean Manaea continues to recover ahead of schedule from shoulder surgery that originally was expected to wipe out his entire 2019 season.