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Derek Dietrich homers three times vs. Pirates

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On Monday, Reds utilityman Derek Dietrich hit a long solo home run off of Pirates reliever Alex McRae. Dietrich admired his work and took a slow trot around the bases. Some thought the Pirates might try to throw at Dietrich on Tuesday to punish him for his transgression. They did not.

Dietrich one-upped himself, blasting three two-run home runs on Tuesday. The first came in the fourth inning off of Jordan Lyles, increasing the Reds’ lead to 3-0. Dietrich went yard again in the fifth against Geoff Hartlieb, boosting the Reds’ advantage to 6-0. Dietrich made it three in the seventh, victimizing Hartlieb once more to make it a 10-0 game. The Reds eventually won, 11-6.

After his three blasts, Dietrich is now hitting .254/.364/.720 with 17 home runs, 35 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 140 plate appearances on the season. The Marlins designated him for assignment in a cost-cutting move back in November and he went unsigned late into February. The Reds snagged him on a minor league contract. Dietrich was one of many talented, established players who couldn’t find guaranteed major league contracts for some reason.

Dietrich’s three-homer game is the sixth this season, as Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Christian Yelich, Gary Sánchez, and Paul Goldschmidt have also accomplished the feat. Scooter Gennett was the last member of the Reds to have a three-homer night, blasting four round-trippers on June 6, 2017 against the Cardinals.

The last-place Reds, at 25-29 and only six games out of first place in the NL Central entering Tuesday’s action, may not be sellers if things keep going the way they have been. If the Reds do lose ground in the division, Dietrich — a potential All-Star — could be a hot commodity ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. At the very least, Dietrich has likely played his way into a guaranteed contract this coming offseason.

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.