Michael Kopech repeatedly tops 100 MPH in return to mound

Kopech has opted out
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White Sox starter Michael Kopech returned to the mound on Monday, appearing in a competitive game for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2018. The right-hander looked quite good, repeatedly topping 100 MPH with his fastball in a perfect first inning. He threw 11 pitches, getting a pair of ground outs before striking out Greg Bird to end the inning. Six of those pitches registered in triple digits.

Per Jack Thompson of the Associated Press, Kopech said he “might have been a little geeked.” He added, “I felt really good. I was able to command my fastball after those first two [pitches] and aside from that, just go out there and get an inning under my belt.”

Kopech is expected to take the mound again on Sunday against the Mariners. He isn’t a candidate to make the Opening Day roster, but he should join the rotation in May if he continues to pitch well.

The 23-year-old Kopech has four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018. He gave up eight runs on 20 hits and two walks with 15 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings. 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.