Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech opted out of the 2020 season and his pitching coach, Don Cooper, said he’s worried about the right-hander.
“I don’t know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he’s OK,” Cooper told the Chicago Sun-Times in a story posted Saturday night. “And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he’s feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Kopech, 24, has spoken before about his bouts with anxiety and depression. The White Sox did not announce why Kopech had chosen against playing in the upcoming 60-game season, and he hasn’t commented publicly.
The hard-throwing Kopech was a cornerstone of the trade with Boston that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox following the 2016 season. He started four games for the White Sox in 2018, posting a 1-1 record and a 5.02 ERA, and missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2018.
Kopech missed the start of camp when the White Sox reconvened earlier this summer. The team cited a personal matter for his absence.
“Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place,” Cooper told the Sun-Times. “But let me put it this way: I sure hope the kid is OK. I’m concerned that he’s not OK.”
Cooper said that Kopech likely will share details of his decision in the future.
“Michael has been pretty open and available to [the media] on a lot of tough topics, but he’s not in the mood to talk right now,” Cooper told the Sun-Times. “When Michael is ready to talk, then you are going to get the real deal.”