Athletics' Frankie Montas Suspended 80 Games for Violating MLB PED Policy

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 21, 2019

Oakland Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas works against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas has been suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug and Prevention and Treatment Program after testing positive for Ostarine, a performance-enhancing substance.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced the decision Friday (h/t MLB.com reporter William Boor).

Montas apologized in a statement Friday and said that he did not intend to take Ostarine:

"I am deeply saddened to confirm that MLB recently notified me that I tested positive for Ostarine, a prohibited substance under MLB's Joint Drug Agreement. While I never intended to take any prohibited substance, I unfortunately and unknowingly ingested a contaminated supplement that I had purchased over-the-counter at a nutrition store here in the United States. That said, I respect MLB rules and understand my responsibilities under the Joint Drug Agreement, and accept full responsibility. I sincerely apologize to the A's organization, the fans, my teammates, and my family for this mistake. My hope is to be able to return to the A's later this season and contribute as best I can."

The Athletics also released a statement:

AthleticsPR @AthleticsPR

Statement regarding Frankie Montas suspension: The A’s were disappointed upon learning of this suspension. We fully support MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and we will welcome Frankie back after the discipline has been served.

Montas, 26, is 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 15 starts this season. He's struck out 97 batters in 90 innings alongside a 1.12 WHIP.

The Athletics ace was cruising through his last four starts, going 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA. He pitched eight innings of one-run ball alongside nine strikeouts Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The suspension comes at an unfortunate time for the 40-36 Athletics, who are one game behind the Boston Red Sox for the final American League wild-card spot.

The Athletics starting rotation has been hit-or-miss this season outside his efforts. No Athletics starter minus Montas has a FIP mark (Fielding Independent Pitching) under 4.32, per Baseball Reference. The league average among starters is 4.42, per FanGraphs.

Montas would be eligible to return with six games left in the regular season, but he will not be allowed to participate in the postseason should the A's get that far.

Per the National Cancer Institute, Ostarine (or enobosarm) is defined as "a non-steroidal agent with anabolic activity":

"Enobosarm is designed to work like testosterone, thus promoting and/or maintaining libido, fertility, prostate growth, and muscle growth and strength. Mimicking testosterone's action, this agent may increase lean body mass, thereby ameliorating muscle wasting in the hypermetabolic state of cancer cachexia."

The Athletics have time to figure out who will take Montas' spot in the rotation, as he wasn't scheduled to pitch until Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Longer-term, this is a tough blow for a team that is fighting for a playoff spot.