Athletics

A's vs. Angels lineups: Frankie Montas makes first start since suspension

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A's vs. Angels lineups: Frankie Montas makes first start since suspension

Frankie Montas returns from his 80-game PED suspension Wednesday night, as the A's take on the Angels in a critical game in Anaheim.

Montas, 26, was having a career-year before his suspension, going 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 15 starts. The right-hander has been throwing simulated games every five days at the A's training complex in Arizona, throwing upwards of 100 pitches, but he hasn't pitched in a real game since June 20.

In order to make room for Montas on the 40-man roster, Oakland designated catcher Beau Taylor for assignment.

Left-hander Andrew Heaney will get the start for the Angels. The 28-year-old is 4-6 with a 5.10 ERA in 17 outings this season. In four September starts, Heaney is just 1-3 with a 9.31 ERA.

A's designated hitter Khris Davis is out with the stomach flu after launching his 23rd home run of the season in Tuesday's series opener. Jurickson Profar will serve as the DH and bat seventh in the order.

[RELATED: Khrush still slugging off lefties during his down season]

Ramón Laureano moves up to the second spot in the lineup and will handle right field, while Mark Canha starts in center and Chad Pinder in left.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Angels game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Oakland A's (94-63)
SS Marcus Semien
RF Ramón Laureano
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha
LF Chad Pinder
DH Jurickson Profar
2B Sheldon Neuse
C Josh Phegley

RHP Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.70 ERA)

Los Angeles Angels (71-86)
2B David Fletcher
CF Brian Goodwin
DH Albert Pujols
RF Kole Calhoun
SS Andrelton Simmons
1B Jared Walsh
LF Taylor Ward
3B Kaleb Cowart
C Anthony Bemboom

LHP Andrew Heaney (4-6, 5.10 ERA)

Boston's JD Martinez understands why Mike Fiers spoke up about Astros

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Boston's JD Martinez understands why Mike Fiers spoke up about Astros

The latest "MLB cheating scandal" cast a murky cloud over America's Pastime when it was brought forth allegations that the Houston Astros used technology to illegally steal signs during the team's 2017 championship season.

The team allegedly would use centerfield video cameras to steal signs from opponents and relay an audio signal (banging on the cans) to batters to give them a heads up which pitch would be coming.

Current A's pitcher Mike Fiers, who spent three seasons as a member of the Astros, was the first to go on record and talk about the cheating ways. Since then, he's received quite a bit of backlash from fans ... and even sports analysts.

But he has a lot of support when you sift through the awful Twitter mentions (and fake niece accounts -- seriously, what?!) in his friend and former college teammate J.D. Martinez.

“Sucks for him. I’ve talked to him about it,” Martinez said in an interview with MassLive.com. “I understand his side of it. I understand his side of it, being in that division and going against those guys. It’s one of those things where it’s an uncomfortable position for him. I understand why he did what he did.”

The Boston Red Sox designated hitter was also asked if it were possible Fiers would fall victim to any type of retaliation on the field during this upcoming season -- or any season after that.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Martinez said. “I wish him the best with everything. I talked about it with him. He obviously felt like he needed to and I understand it.”

We don't know what will materialize once actual baseball games are played, but it appears there is more heat on Major League Baseball than Fiers.

ESPN baseball analyst and Mets advisor Jessica Mendoza recently gave her thoughts publicly on what Fiers had done saying it "didn't sit well" with her on the fact that he decided to "go public."

What she said didn't sit well with many. Myself included.

This isn't an article to discuss what she said or the fact she holds both of these titles is a conflict of interest. This article will, however, expound she was false in her statements.

It's important to showcase that Fiers has the support from not only his friends/fellow baseball players but those who spend money and time dedicated to the sport.

Since Fiers bravely went public in that interview with The Athletic, baseball saw a few historic penalties.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow were both fired. The team forfeited its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and '21 MLB drafts and were fined $5 million. This is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution. 

Boston Red Sox manager and Alex Cora "mutually parted ways" after the scandal. Cora served as the Astros' bench coach the year the team won the World Series.

As Martinez says, we don't know what will happen in the upcoming months as more light is shed on these situations, but many are saying Fiers should be commended for what he did.

[RELATED: A's projected to win under 90 games in 2020]

He could have been anonymous. He could have subtweeted it in a cryptic way. He could have waited years from now to write a novel about it.

He didn't.

Fiers stamped his name on it, and that brought more individuals forward to do the same. That took courage. 

Cardinals' Kyler Murray claims he could play two sports at same time

Cardinals' Kyler Murray claims he could play two sports at same time

The game Kyler Murray played of "What will he choose?" ultimately ended with the dual-sport player deciding to be an NFL quarterback.

Despite the choice, Murray, the A's first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft, believes if he were given a one-calendar year, he would be able to play both sports.

"Athletically, I think yeah, I could do it," Murray told The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman

Murray added it's something he's done his entire life and "would love to add that to my resume."

The guy is a heck of an athlete, that's for sure. He ended up being the No. 1 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft and became the first player ever drafted in the first round in both the NFL and MLB.

Not bad. 

He started 50 of his 51 games in a baseball uniform as an Oklahoma Sooner, hitting a .296 average with 10 home runs and 47 RBI. 

As a member of the Sooner football team, he threw for 4,361 yards and rushed for 1,001 scoring a combined 54 touchdowns. That was tied for the ninth-most in NCAA Division 1 history and he sealed his college campaign with a Heisman Trophy.

It was a difficult pill to swallow for A's fans that looked forward to seeing him in action. Both from a playing and marketing perspective.

When he made the decision to be an NFL player, he had to return a chunk of his signing bonus money ($4.66 million total) to the A's and would forfeit the remaining $3.16 million due that March. 

The A's retained Murray's rights, but the team did not get a compensatory draft pick.

[RELATED: A's prospect Reed will be perfect for Green and Gold]

General manager David Forst told reporters last year during spring training the A's knew there was a possibility he would choose football.

"We'll focus on what we need to do if he comes back to baseball at some point, and he'll come back with the A's," Forst said.