There has long been talk of the Phillies platooning first baseman Ryan Howard with a right-handed hitter, such as Darin Ruf. Howard has taken umbrage at the suggestion, citing his performance against southpaws in 2014. But Howard has, by and large, been a free out when a lefty is on the mound.
It looks like the Phillies are now finally using an official platoon, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Manager Pete Mackanin told Howard, “It’s in your best interests.” Howard wasn’t happy with the decision but understood.
Ruf, 29, has crushed left-handed pitching in his career, owning a .946 OPS against them. Howard, since, 2012, has a .613 OPS against lefties.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick 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, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.