OAKLAND -- Following the incredible high of Thursday night's heart-stopping comeback victory, the A's sunk to the lowest of lows less than 24 hours later.
On Friday, the team found out they would be without ace starting pitcher Frankie Montas for the next 80 games after he tested positive for Ostarine, a banned substance under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Agreement. Montas is also ineligible for the postseason.
"It's disappointing on a number of levels," said A's general manager David Forst. "Obviously, I'm personally disappointed in Frankie. I'm disappointed for his teammates and for this team who have worked very hard in the first half of the season, played very well of late, and I know have high expectations for themselves going forward. It's disappointing."
Montas had been enjoying a breakout season, going 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 15 starts. He pitched eight dominant innings Thursday night against the Rays, allowing just one run on four hits with nine strikeouts.
"He was very disappointed in himself," Forst said. "He was apologetic. He feels like he let his teammates and the organization down. I appreciated that sentiment, but at that point, there wasn't much we could do."
According to Forst, Montas has known about the positive test for a while and believes the right-hander went through an appeal process, which ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Montas, 26, released a statement through the MLB Players Association, saying, in part: "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."
Forst noted that players are well-educated on the Joint Drug Agreement and are instructed to always check with the team before taking a supplement.
"One of the things they're specifically told is, before you put anything in your body, check with the training and strength staff," Forst said. "There's, I would say, constant communication about this kind of thing. They receive a lot of paperwork and documentation in spring training. The medical staff -- both training and strength and conditioning -- talk to them about it, and their union speaks to them about it."
After Montas revealed the news to Forst Friday morning, he met privately with A's manager Bob Melvin, and then with his teammates.
"I think it was a shock to everybody today," Melvin said. "We met as a team and Frankie spoke and was very remorseful. He's going to accept what he has to deal with and feels bad about it."
Added A's shortstop Marcus Semien: "Just breaking the news to us and then apologizing. We don't have him till September, so apologizing for his mistake. He's going to serve his suspension, come back, and hopefully, he can move past it. ... He was our ace. I just hope that he can stay strong during this time and comes back ready to go."
The A's have not yet decided who will take Montas' place in the starting rotation. In the meantime, Oakland recalled right-handed reliever J.B. Wendelken from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Montas' spot on the 25-man roster.