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Brett Cecil, Luiz Gohara have lost tons of weight

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Early spring training dispatches spend a lot of time on players’ weights. Makes sense, as one of the first things players do when they report to camp is to step on a scale. Most of the time that scale-stepping is not notable. These are athletes and most of them work out all winter, know their weight to a tenth of a pound and don’t make a point to tell anyone about their weigh-in.

It’s a bit different for some guys, though. Especially bigger fellas who are coming off disappointing years. If and when they come back to camp having cut a bunch of weight, you can bet that we’ll hear about it. It’s not quite a Best Shape of His Life situation, but it serves the same purpose: to send out an early signal that things are going to be better and different this year.

We have two such dispatches today:

Cecil, who is entering the third year of a $30.5 million, four-year contract, is coming off of a terrible season in which he posted a 6.89 ERA, and walked more guys than he struck out in 32.2 innings. His season was interrupted by shoulder and foot injuries, though it’s not entirely clear that they were directly conditioning-related. A bigger issue was probably the great deal of personal setbacks he experienced : his wife lost her father and, before that, her mother was on life-support for a while. He even had to put his dog down last year which, man, that’s terrible too. I can imagine it was hard to concentrate with all of that. Obviously the conditioning improvement will help, but just having a calmer personal life will likely help too.

Gohara’s had a similar mix of tragedy and injury. His father died last offseason which, yeah. He also hurt his ankle and, obviously, wasn’t in great shape. He’s an immensely talented young guy — and as that interview with Braves’ GM Alex Anthopoulos I talked about yesterday revealed, the Braves are putting a lot of pressure on him to step up this year — so coming into camp in shape is a good sign. And really, his personal situation is obviously better this winter than last.

Anyway: now that everyone is done getting weighed, they can start throwing baseballs.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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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.