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Oakland A’s call up Frankie Montas, option Chris Bassitt

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Montas will start Sunday’s game.

80-grade smile
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s called up pitcher Frankie Montas on Sunday, the team announced. The right-hander will start the afternoon game against the Diamondbacks. To make room on the roster, Chris Bassitt was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.

Montas threw 32 innings for the A’s last year as a reliever, but he has yet to appear in MLB this season. He was acquired from the Dodgers in 2016 as part of the Reddick/Hill blockbuster, and the next winter he made a couple national Top 100 prospect lists due to his triple-digit velocity. He reached as high as 102 mph for Oakland last summer, but he struggled with control and opponents found him quite hittable.

Montas, 2017 MLB: 7.03 ERA, 32 ip, 36 Ks, 20 BB, 10 HR, 7.13 FIP

This year the A’s stretched him out to start in the minors, and in the longer outings his velocity is sitting in the 95-97 range. After a shaky April he began to find a groove in May, with a few quality starts in a row before a stinker in his last game. His strikeout rate is oddly low for a power pitcher, and he’s given up a handful of homers this month, but he’s at least showing signs of life lately. That appears to have been enough for him to get a look in Oakland’s direly thin rotation.

Montas, 2018 AAA: 4.39 ERA, 41 ip, 33 Ks, 13 BB, 5 HR, 4.85 FIP

To make room, Bassitt heads back to Triple-A. He was called up on Saturday and got to watch one game from the bench, as Daniel Mengden threw a shutout and gave the whole bullpen a day off. Bassitt has now seen two brief stints in Oakland but is yet to get into a game. It’s worth noting that he has been starting in Nashville and hasn’t pitched in five days, but that the A’s chose to give Sunday’s nod to Montas even at the expense of an extra 25-man roster move.

Bassitt, 2018 AAA: 6.35 ERA, 28⅓ ip, 29 Ks, 11 BB, 2 HR, 36 hits, 4.31 FIP

Here’s the updated roster.

Oakland A's 25-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Daniel Mengden (R)
Trevor Cahill (R)
Daniel Gossett (R)
Frankie Montas (R)

Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Yusmerio Petit (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Danny Coulombe (L)
Chris Hatcher (R)
Ryan Dull (R)
Emilio Pagain (R)
Carlos Ramirez (R)
Catchers

Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)

Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)

Outfielders

Stephen Piscotty (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Dustin Fowler (L)

10-day DL: RHP Andrew Triggs (triceps), LHP Brett Anderson (shoulder), RHP Santiago Casilla (shoulder), RHP Liam Hendriks (groin), LHP Ryan Buchter (shoulder), DH Khris Davis(groin), OF Boog Powell (knee)

60-day DL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), RHP Paul Blackburn (forearm strain)