CHICAGO – The news came as a shock White Sox fans and those across baseball on September 7th, when Rick Hahn revealed the stunning news.
Just a few days after his fourth start in the major leagues, an exam found a tear in Michael Kopech’s UCL, which would require Tommy John surgery, and would cost him the entire 2019 season.
There was a small hope left that a second opinion might reveal something less damaging, but in the end, the pitcher would end up going under the knife in September.
RHP Michael Kopech yesterday underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, Calif. Kopech is expected to make a full recovery in time to fully participate at spring training prior to the 2020 season.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 19, 2018
On Wednesday, the White Sox announced that the pitcher had successful Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the procedure and the hope remains that Kopech will return to the team ready to pitch in Spring Training of 2020.
Acquired in the Chris Sale trade from the Red Sox, Kopech worked his way up through the White Sox minor league system quick and started the season in Triple-A Charlotte. In 24 games with the Knights he had 170 strikeouts and a 3.70 ERA, with his performance improving significantly after the All-Star Break. The White Sox brought him up for his first career MLB start on August 21st against the Twins and he pitched in four games before the injury.
In his first three performances, Kopech allowed just one earned run in 11 innings, striking out nine batters while walking just one. Perhaps an indication that something was wrong came in his fourth start against the Tigers on September 5th, allowing seven runs on nine hits along with four homers in 3 1/3 innings.
Little did her or White Sox fans know that it would be his final time on the mound until 2020.