Montas Kept on Schedule; Luzardo Will Start Tuesday in Coliseum vs. Rangers

John Hickey

The Oakland A’s evidently are going to give Frankie Montas every chance they can to start this year.

And they haven’t forgotten about getting rookie lefty Jesus Luzardo his starts, either.

Manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s opener of a four-game series in Seattle that Montas will move into Monday’s start over Daniel Mengden, who will move back into the bullpen. The club returns home on Tuesday and Luzardo will make his first Major League start as the Texas Rangers come to town.

“All of us want to go out there and pitched five, six, seven innings,” Montas said Wednesday. “And take the pressure off the bullpen. We’re all ready to go. “

As for Luzardo, Montas said, “I had a chance to watch him (Wednesday). He’s ready, man. He’s a fighter, always trying to get outs.”

Montas became the first A’s starter to pitch five innings this season on Wednesday and will come back Monday on four days’ rest. Then Luzardo, who pitched in relief of Montas, 3.2 innings worth, on Wednesday, then gets the Tuesday game.

“I think I’m ready in terms of strength of arm and how I feel,” Luzardo said after his Wednesday relief appearance.

For his Major League career, which started last September, the 22-year-old Luzardo has pitched in eight games, all in relief, with a 1.45 ERA and 23 strikeouts and 18.2 innings pitched.

Early in a 60-game season, Melvin and the A’s brain trust of Billy Beane and David Forst seem to feel that Montas, who is the most built up of the A’s starters and who put together a dominant first half last year – 9-2 – before being sidelined by a PED suspension needs to pitch every five days.

At the same time, Luzardo, who has pitched twice in relief since missing 14 games during Summer Camp after having tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, has yet to be built up, although he did throw 67 pitches in his relief appearance Wednesday.

“He came out of that feeling great,” Melvin said. As things stand now, Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers would close out the series against Texas.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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