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Oakland A’s call up Dustin Fowler, option Frankie Montas

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Fowler is leading off on Friday.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s called up outfielder Dustin Fowler on Friday, the team announced. He’s batting leadoff for the evening’s game against the Mariners. To make room on the roster, pitcher Frankie Montas was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville.

Montas started on Thursday in the opener against Seattle but had a rough night. He allowed a five-run 1st inning, albeit partly thanks to some shoddy defense behind him, and the A’s never climbed back into the game. However, to his credit the right-hander was able to stick around and pitch through the 6th, eating some extra frames and helping save the exhausted bullpen.

Montas, 2018: 3.96 ERA, 63⅔ ip, 43 Ks, 21 BB, 5 HR, 3.91 FIP

Nashville’s Triple-A season ends on Monday, which means Montas will be eligible to return to the bigs on Tuesday. That would have been his next turn to start anyway, so theoretically this move might not affect him at all. It could turn out to be purely to make space for an extra body on Friday.

That body is Fowler. The high-profile rookie had mixed results this season, and after a July slump he eventually lost his spot to the breakout performance of Nick Martini. However, the 23-year-old caught fire upon his return to Triple-A, playing 25 games with the following line:

Fowler, AAA last 25 gms: .379/.402/.563, 153 wRC+, 1 HR, 3.7% BB, 17.8% Ks, 5 SB

With Martini briefly down in Triple-A as part of the greater roster shuffle, Fowler essentially takes his place for now as a lefty outfielder batting in the leadoff spot and playing LF. His full MLB numbers this year, in 192 plate appearances:

Fowler, MLB: .231/.260/.368, 69 wRC+, 6 HR, 3.6% BB, 22.4% Ks

He doesn’t walk much and so he must rely on making contact and hitting for a high batting average to get on base. He’s also got speed and a bit of power to help him along. He did not impress on defense in CF earlier in the year, but now he doesn’t need to play there with the emergence of Ramon Laureano; this time around we’ll get to see how Fowler looks in a corner position, where he has the chance to grade out as a plus fielder.

Expect to see many more moves on Saturday, when rosters expand for the first day of September. This particular transaction merely gives Oakland a third position player on the bench for Friday’s game, at the expense of a pitcher who wasn’t going to play again until next week anyway. A final look at the 25-man roster before it stops being a thing for the rest of the season (still need to make a move to add their Friday acquisition, reliever Cory Gearrin):

Oakland A's 25-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Trevor Cahill (R)
Mike Fiers (R)
Edwin Jackson (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)

Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Jeurys Familia (R)
Fernando Rodney (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Shawn Kelley (R)
Emilio Pagan (R)
J.B. Wendelken (R)
Cory Gearrin (R)
Catchers

Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Josh Phegley (R)

Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Dustin Fowler (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Chad Pinder (R)

10-day DL: LHP Brett Anderson (forearm), LHP Sean Manaea(shoulder), OF Matt Joyce (back)

60-day DL: RHP Paul Blackburn (elbow), RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), RHP Daniel Gossett (TJS), RHP Andrew Triggs (triceps/nerve), OF Jake Smolinski (blood clot)

AAA DL: RHP Kendall Graveman (TJS)