After serving his 80-game PED suspension, Frankie Montas has rejoined the A's in Anaheim and will start Wednesday night against the Angels.
Montas, 26, was Oakland's best starter in the first of the season, going 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 15 starts. The right-hander will be eligible for the final five games of the regular season, but not for the playoffs.
"I'm just here to help," Montas told reporters in Anaheim. "It feels good (to be back). I've had a tough time -- me and my family -- just waiting for the suspension to be over. I'm just happy to be back with my teammates."
Montas has been pitching simulated games every five days at the A's training complex in Arizona, though he has not seen real game action since June 20 when he limited the Tampa Bay Rays to one run in eight innings. He was suspended by MLB the very next day.
"I've built up pretty good," Montas said. "I've been throwing up to 100 pitches down in Arizona -- six innings. I think I threw like 40-something innings down there, so I'm pretty well-prepared right now."
Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "We'll see how it goes. You can simulate all you want, and he's pitching in some heat there and he's kept himself in good condition. ... His best work is done starting and this has been the best year he's ever had at the big-league level, so I think that factored into starting him tomorrow."
Montas obviously was disappointed in himself for letting his team down, but his teammates have welcomed him back with open arms.
"A lot of these guys have kept in touch with him," Melvin told reporters. "I'm sure it's hard for him watching from afar, as key a piece as he was for us in the first half of the season. ... It's probably hard going through that, but I'm sure he's excited about being back. As a matter of fact, I know he is."
Added Montas: "I was at home just watching the team. I was proud of my teammates. I was sad that I wasn't there to give them my support, but I was watching every game."
The A's will have to make a corresponding move on Wednesday to make room for Montas on the 40-man roster. Their options include placing Stephen Piscotty, Blake Treinen, or Lou Trivino on the 60-day injured list or designating someone for assignment.