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Gerrit Cole begins spring training pumping high-90s heat

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It was just one inning, but newly-signed Yankees starter Gerrit Cole made his Yankees debut last night. And he looked pretty good doing it.

Cole struck out two and walked one over a hitless inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, pumping gas like it was the middle of the season. His first pitch to Adam Frazier was a 97 mph fastball. He got Frazier to pop out, struck out Bryan Reynolds, walked Cole Tucker, but then struck out Josh Bell to end his evening. In all threw 20 pitches, 12 of which were strikes, reached 98 mph twice and hit 97 mph six times.

The only less-than-great thing from his outing — and this is only less-than-great if you’re a certain sort of Yankees fan or reporter — is that Cole made a comment about how he’d like to get to a point where he and catcher Gary Sánchez “can read each other’s minds.” It was obviously just a comment a new player makes when working with a new catcher for the first time in spring training, but I saw some people on social media interpreting that as some sort of negative. As if Cole and Sánchez had communication issues. Which is weird given that Cole also said he worked well with Sánchez, but given how weirdly obsessive certain people in New York get about Sánchez’s defensive shortcomings, it’s likely something that someone will try to turn into a narrative at some point. From everything I saw things seemed fine.

For non-obsessives, Cole’s first appearance in pinstripes — well, at least pinstriped pants — was good to see.

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.