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Former Braves catcher Biff Pocoroba dies

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Former Atlanta Braves catcher Biff Pocoroba has died at the age of 66, the team announced earlier today. No cause of death was given.

Pocoroba was a 17th round pick of the Braves inn the 1971 draft out of Canoga Park, California. After four minor league seasons in which he displayed fine defense and strong on-base skills, he joined the Braves in 1975, making his big league debut on April 25 of that year. He’d go on to play ten seasons in the majors, all with Atlanta, never once returning to the minors.

Pocoroba was primarily a backup, playing in more than 100 games in only one season. Despite that, he did manage to make the All-Star team in 1978, likely due to his .290 batting average the year before and, more substantively, his reputation for being effective at throwing out would-be base stealers. Indeed, he gunned down opposing base runners at a 34% clip in both 1976 and 1977.

Pocoroba’s playing time decreased pretty precipitously in the early 80s due to nagging injuries. He did, however, manage to play in the postseason with the 1982 NL West champ Braves which lost that year’s NLCS to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Pocoroba was released by the Braves early in the 1984 season and retired.

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.