White Sox pitcher Kopech throws for first time since Tommy John surgery

CHICAGO — One of the most disappointing moments for the White Sox during the 2018 season was learning they wouldn’t see one of their best prospects play in 2019.

It was announced in September that Michael Kopech would undergo Tommy John surgery, effectively putting him out of this upcoming season, and out of the majors until 2020.

But in a surprise move Tuesday, the White Sox offered some hope that the pitcher’s progress after his Sept. 19 surgery is going well. A 28-second video shows Kopech throwing pitches at the team’s spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz.

While it wasn’t specified how many pitches Kopech threw, it’s an encouraging sign that he’s pitching again roughly five months after his Tommy John surgery. A slight tear in Kopech’s UCL forced the pitcher to undergo the procedure.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade to the Red Sox. Kopech worked his way through the White Sox system in a year and a half to make his major league debut on Aug. 21 against the Minnesota Twins. He’d start three more games from then until Sept. 5, going 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA and 15 strikeouts compared to two walks.

Most of the negative in Kopech’s stats came from his last start on Sept. 5 against the Tigers, when he allowed seven earned runs and four homers in just 3 1⁄3 innings. Two days later, it was announced that he’d have to undergo Tommy John surgery, and a long road back to the field began.

So far, Kopech’s progress appears to be good.

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