Athletics

Why A's Frankie Montas feels no pressure after 80-game PED suspension

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AP

Why A's Frankie Montas feels no pressure after 80-game PED suspension

MESA, Ariz. -- It was one inning of the "Frankie Montas Show" in the desert on Wednesday.

Closer Liam Hendriks was poking fun at the right-hander in the clubhouse saying the bullpen had a new arm. 

A's manager Bob Melvin told the media Montas would only get that solo inning, but the 1-2-3 outing went by so fast if you'd blinked you might have missed it. It was an anticipated spring debut after a season of missing out for the right-hander. 

Montas was suspended after testing positive for PED's last June. He wants to move on from that, and Melvin repeatedly said the 26-year-old is excited to contribute to the team this season. But Montas doesn't believe he has any extra responsibilities despite missing a chunk of time.

"I don't feel like I have anything to prove to be honest with you," Montas told reporters after his outing. "I just want to have the ball every five days and go out there and compete and do my best."

A smile barely left his face as he talked about some of his pitches that hit in the 96-97 mph range. Montas also was able to throw his two-seamer as well as his changeup, slider and splitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Last season in 16 starts, Montas boasted a 2.63 ERA with 103 strikeouts and a 1.115 WHIP in 96 innings.

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Montas will be vying for a starting spot in a promising looking rotation. And despite the pressure being off him heading into the season, he's not getting too comfortable.

He also said that with a smile. 

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

During this unprecedented time amid the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), it’s given us an opportunity to give thanks to those who so selflessly have been working hard to ensure the rest of us stay safe. 

For A’s closer Liam Hendriks, he wanted to give a special shoutout to those in the medical field working hard:

 “We, as an Oakland Athletics organization, want to say, ‘Thank you,’ for everything you’re doing, please stay safe,” he said via the A’s Instagram account.

Hendriks personally has felt the devastation the coronavirus has brought upon us as a society. He revealed recently that a friend of his, Conrad Buchanan, died due to COVID-19. Hendriks announced the news on Instagram last week and urged the world to stay home, “not only for your health, but for the sake of others as well.”

[RELATED: What Canha misses most during MLB hiatus]

Hendriks also wrote that Buchanan is survived by his wife and daughter.

MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

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USATSI

MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

We won't have live Oakland A’s baseball for a while. For now, we have to improvise.

One of the ways the league is making sure everyone stays home is by implementing a way to watch MLB The Show 20 in a tournament put on by the players themselves.

In the game, you’re able to create essentially your own legacy in Major League Baseball.

Just like most games based on professional sports, each individual is given an overall rating.

Here are how some of the A’s players fared, out of a possible best score of 100:

3B Matt Chapman: 92
Closer Liam Hendriks: 88
1B Matt Olson: 86
SS Marcus Semien: 85
CF Ramón Laureano: 83
RP Joakim Soria: 83
SP Sean Manaea: 81
RP Yusmeiro Petit: 81
RP J.B. Wendelken: 78
P Frankie Montas: 76

You can see the rest of the A’s numbers, as well as other players across the league, in this video:

For Matt Chapman, he’s unsurprisingly one of the best third basemen in the game according to The Show’s player ratings -- No. 4 in that category to be specific. Right behind Houston Astros star Alex Bregman, who was rated a 95. 

Nolan Arenado leads the hot corner with a 99 overall rating. Chappy earlier this year told NBC Sports California where he believed he ranked compared to Arenado, Bregman and even Anthony Rendon. Rendon was signed by the Angels in the offseason, which only beefed up the AL West at that position.

Last season, Chappy put up solid numbers earning his first All-Star selection and his second, and consecutive Gold and Platinum Glove Awards. He hit 36 home runs and slashed .249/.342/.506 with 91 RBI.

For Liam Hendriks, who was rated the second-highest on the team, he was the third-highest among closers, with Kirby Yates leading the category.

Last season, Hendriks was sensational with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.965 WHIP in 85 innings. He also earned the first All-Star selection of his career.

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Marcus Semien also earned high marks with his 85 rating. He was tied with the likes of Adalberto Mondesi, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner. Not a bad group to be associated with.

The ratings at shortstop had a lot to do with fielding abilities. Despite the shift in power we get to see among middle infielders, the glove was a highlight here -- but the bats were all but ignored. Semien has improved drastically over the last couple of seasons with both his glove and offensive game. He was appreciated here.

Angels star Mike Trout also received a 99 rating, which goes to show who the rest of the league has to measure up to.