Mookie Betts
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Watch: Mookie Betts belts three home runs in first three at-bats

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Red Sox slugger and defending AL MVP Mookie Betts decorated an impressive resume with yet another career first on Friday, collecting three home runs in his first three at-bats against the Yankees.

Betts worked a full count against New York starter James Paxton in the first inning, battling through an eight-pitch at-bat before finding a pitch he liked. He pounced on a 96.3-m.p.h. fastball and belted it out to the Green Monster, putting the Red Sox on the board with a solo shot.

While Andrew Cashner held the Yankees scoreless, Betts won contest after contest against Paxton. In the third, he led off again with another solo home run to left field, this one the product of a six-pitch battle against the southpaw.

Betts came up to bat a third time in the fourth inning, this time with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. on first. He worked a 3-0 count against Paxton, then returned a 87.4-m.p.h. cutter over the top of the Green Monster for his third consecutive home run, boosting the Red Sox to a 7-0 advantage over the Yankees.

While Betts’ next at-bat ended in a double, he’ll add Friday’s feat to his four previous three-homer games. This appears to be the first in which he managed all three home runs in his first three at-bats of the game.

Entering the series, the four-time All-Star slashed .283/.395/.479 with 15 home runs, a league-leading 92 runs scored, and an .874 OPS through 484 plate appearances in 2019. Per MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Betts is just one three-homer game away from tying the all-time record held by Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa. As things stand now, his five-game record is tied with those of fellow home run hitters Álex RodrÍguez, Mark McGwire, Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado, and Joe Carter.

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.