Frankie Montas will be the Oakland A’s starter for Opening Day against the Los Angeles Angels on July 24, manager Bob Melvin announced.
Montas, 27, has a permanent smile on his face, but he grinned a little wider when Melvin broke the news to him on Friday afternoon.
“He can count,” Melvin said. “So he kind of knew it was going to be him.”
Montas’ All-Star caliber first-half start to the 2019 season was cut short after the pitcher tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. After the 80-game suspension was lifted, Montas made one start in September against the Angels in Anaheim. The suspension mandated he was not allowed to pitch in the postseason.
During the 2020 hiatus, Montas kept his arm strength up and faced live hitting. He returned to Oakland for summer camp able to throw four innings, he said.
Melvin also announced that 28-year-old left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea will follow Montas in the rotation.
Right-handed veteran Mike Fiers, 35, will be third. Right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt slots in at fourth, filling in for left-handed phenom Jesús Luzardo, 22, as he works to get stretched out on a short camp following his bout with the coronavirus. Left-handed rookie A.J. Puk, 25, will make his first big league starts out of the rotation from the fifth slot.