Michael Kopech, one of baseball's top pitching prospects, has decided to "not participate in the 2020 season," White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said Friday in a statement.
“Michael Kopech has informed us of his decision to not participate in the 2020 season," Hahn said. "We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech was excused from team activities last Friday, and Hahn said at the time he didn't have a timeline for the pitcher's return.
“Given the time we're living through together I will try to answer the question that's probably now at the top of everybody's mind and just share the fact that currently Michael is healthy,” Hahn said last week on a video conference call.
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Kopech was coming back from Tommy John surgery in September 2018. He hit triple-digits on the radar gun during his first spring training appearance.
He was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on March 26 and likely would have began the year in the minors had the season started on time, but it was pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hahn did not comment on the specifics of Kopech's decision, and last week the general manager said he wouldn't get more specific.
“I know it’s very general and I’m not going to get more specific than that, other than we fully support Michael and are going to provide him whatever time and resources he needs and look forward to seeing him in the future,” Hahn said. “This doesn’t just apply to Michael, this applies to everything related to this entire season. You know, things are a little bit day to day.”
Kopech was acquired by Chicago in the December 2016 trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. He made his big league debut in 2018, going 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in four starts.