OAKLAND — The range of emotions always vary in a major league clubhouse on the day final cuts are made.
So it was with reliever Frankie Montas, who got the exciting news he made the A’s 25-man roster, and outfielder Jaff Decker, who was the last cut even after a terrific spring camp.
“This is going to be my first Opening Day,” Montas said, beaming. “I’m really excited to be here.”
The right-hander went through trying times last season, throwing just 16 innings in the Dodgers’ farm system while dealing with two separate fractured ribs. He came over in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade (along with pitchers Jharel Cotton and Grant Holmes) and dazzled this spring, piling up 13 strikeouts and a 0.77 ERA in six appearances (11 2/3 IP).
His first phone call went to his mother, Gressel, in the Dominican Republic. She spent much of the spring in Arizona with Montas.
“She was screaming and crying,” Montas said. “I was like, ‘It’s OK, you’re gonna be here soon with me.’”
Decker singled Saturday to lift his spring average to .333, even after he got the bad news that he wasn’t making the roster. He shined all spring, playing all over the outfield. Had the A’s kept five outfielders, he would have been the fifth. Instead, they opted for eight relievers, as Montas and lefty Daniel Coulombe made the cut. This is the first Opening Day roster for Coulombe too.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said the conversation with Decker was his toughest of all the spring cuts, but Decker said the two had a good discussion.
“We had a couple good words with each other,” Decker said. “It’s kind of part of the business of baseball. You’ve got to carry an extra (pitcher) playing 20 games in (21 days to start the season). It kind of stinks, but it’s part of it. It’s nice to hear it from him. I’m gonna go down and do what I’ve gotta do to get back up here.”
The A’s are carrying seven players who are on their first Opening Night roster: Montas, Coulombe, fellow pitchers Raul Alcantara, Cotton, Sean Manaea and Andrew Triggs, and infielder Ryon Healy.