For the second time in eight months, Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech is in the news for reasons beyond his on-field potential.
Kopech, who was suspended 50 games last season after testing positive for a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, recently fractured his right hand during an altercation with a teammate, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen confirmed the news Tuesday, though it’s unclear how long Kopech will be sidelined or if the right-hander will face any discipline for his role in the fight.
“No, it’s disappointing, very disappointing,” Hazen said, according to the Boston Herald, when asked if the latest incident reflected poorly on Kopech’s makeup. “It was stupid. He’s going to have to grow up with the things that have happened.”
Kopech was spotted wearing a cast on his throwing hand Tuesday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., according to Bradford. Further testing will be conducted to determine the extent of Kopech’s injury.
“(Kopech’s) very apologetic, he’s very disappointed by what happened and now he’s going to have to pay for it with regard to more lost time,” Hazen said, per the Herald.
Kopech, who turns 20 in April, was drafted in the first round (33rd overall) in 2014. He is considered one of the Red Sox’s top farmhands and is coming off a season in which he went 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 16 appearances (15 starts) for Single-A Greenville.
Kopech was slated to enter this season as the game’s No. 98 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus’ offseason rankings released in January. SoxProspects.com lists Kopech as the Red Sox’s second-best pitching prospect behind Anderson Espinoza and the organization’s fifth-best prospect overall.
Hazen declined to identify the teammate who Kopech fought with, according to the Herald.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube screengrab