Frankie Montas exits start vs. Mariners with shoulder tightness

SEATTLE — The buzz surrounding Frankie Montas as one of baseball’s most sought-after pitchers ahead of the the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline has only heightened with each start. An early exit on Sunday, however, now leaves his immediate future in question.

On a cold Seattle afternoon with heavy rainfall in the surrounding area at first pitch, gloom came over the visiting dugout as the A’s saw their ace depart Sunday’s series finale 2-1 loss against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park after just one inning. Montas was later ruled to have experienced tightness in the back of his shoulder, with manager Mark Kotsay saying the right-hander is day-to-day.

“I don’t think it’s anything bad,” said Montas, who added that he’ll probably get an MRI back in Oakland. “Just some soreness and maybe inflammation. Nothing that I’m worried about.”

There was cause for concern with how Montas’ stuff looked in the first. Surrendering a leadoff homer to Julio Rodríguez as part of a 13-pitch frame, Montas maxed out at just 94.5 mph with his fastball in the first. Overall, Montas’ velocity on his four-seamer was 2.4 mph lower than his season average, while the velocity on his sinker was 2.7 mph lower.

Though the A’s entered a rebuild this spring by trading away several stars, they held off on dealing away Montas in hopes of receiving a better offer during the season. Based on the right-hander’s numbers, that move appeared to be the right one. Entering Sunday, Montas held a 3.20 ERA over 16 starts. Among Amercian League starters, Montas ranked fifth in innings pitched (95 2/3), seventh in strikeouts (99), eighth in WHIP (1.09) and 12th in opponents’ batting average (.226).

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