The Oakland A’s used the injured list for the first time in 2021, but it wasn’t for an elbow or a hamstring.
The A’s placed pitcher Frankie Montas on the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced Friday morning.
The move does not come as a surprise, as Montas’ positive coronavirus test was reported two days ago and he was held out of the beginning of spring training camp as a result. He is experiencing “flu-like” symptoms, reports insider Martin Gallegos, but the team is hopeful that he’ll be able to get back into action before long.
There is no minimum or maximum length requirement for this version of the IL, which was specially created during the still-ongoing pandemic, but in order to be reinstated players must pass a set of protocols that includes testing negative for the virus multiple times over multiple days. Players on this IL are temporarily removed from the 26-man and 40-man rosters, just like if they went on the traditional 60-day IL.
The removal of Montas from the 40-man created an open spot, and the A’s immediately used it to officially announce the re-signing of free agent reliever Yusmeiro Petit. Oakland still has two more incoming free agents, closer Trevor Rosenthal and DH Mitch Moreland, so they’ll need to clear two more roster spots for that pair, plus another whenever Montas is ready to return.
Wishing all the best for Frankie in his recovery! Of course, this roster transaction is merely a procedural move, not any kind of updated statement on Montas’ condition one way or other. He already qualified for the IL upon the initial news last Wednesday, so now he’s on it.
In pure spreadsheet terms, the A’s had an urgent need to free up space on the 40-man so they could announce all their signings and get the new players into camp. Presumably Montas will be back soon and will need his roster spot back, but for now his absence will briefly delay one of their three tough decisions in terms of whom to cut from the team entirely, whether via DFA, trade, or something else.