Kopech to face former club in 3rd MLB start

Top prospect dealt from Boston to White Sox in Sale trade

August 29th, 2018

NEW YORK -- In just the third start of his Major League career, gets to go against the team that traded him away.

That matchup comes Friday night, when the White Sox play host to Boston at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Red Sox sent the highly touted pitching prospect, along with , and Victor Diaz, to Chicago in exchange for Chris Sale on Dec. 6, 2016, a move all but beginning the White Sox rebuild.

Kopech -- the No. 13 overall prospect and No. 2 in the White Sox system, per MLB Pipeline -- is excited for the matchup. But he's taking a pragmatic approach to keep the moment from getting bigger than the work he has to do.

"It's kind of a bittersweet feeling," Kopech said before Wednesday's game against the Yankees. "At one point, anyone who gets drafted by a team expects to be in the big leagues with them. I envisioned a lot of my career in Boston, but I'm kind of past that point now.

"I'm excited to take the mound against them, but at the same time, I can't go out there trying to seek vengeance on Boston or something. I have to just treat it like another start. Go out there, throw strikes, do what I've been doing well."

Kopech was selected by the Red Sox with the 33rd pick in the 2014 Draft. He knows quite a few of the guys on the Red Sox, having played and worked out with a lot of them. He even roomed shortly with .

"There's a history there, but I'm going to try to keep it as professional as possible," Kopech said. "It's a baseball game. I'm not going to interact with them much. I'm not going to be cussing them on the mound or anything like that.

"I will try to be as even-keeled as possible throughout the game. I probably will have some adrenaline, but just going to try to not let that get to me. I respect the organization and I'm glad I had an opportunity with them. I'm grateful I've had a better opportunity here so far."

That opportunity with the White Sox has featured one run allowed over eight innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks. He picked up his first career win Sunday in Detroit and will go for victory No. 2 against his old friends.

"It still doesn't feel like it's really set in with me. It doesn't feel real yet," Kopech said. "I know at some point I'll have time to sit down and breathe and think about it, and it's going to hit me like a train and I'll be overloaded with emotions. But so far, I'm loving every minute of it."

Anderson on the mend

was out of Wednesday's starting lineup after the shortstop's small collision with left fielder Nicky Delmonico in the eighth inning Tuesday while chasing a Greg Bird fly ball. Anderson made the catch but was caught in the left ankle when Delmonico slid to get out of the way.

"It feels like a foul ball hit off of it. Swollen up a little bit, but better today," Anderson said of the left ankle bruise. "I didn't take my eyes off the ball, and he couldn't hear me, but I had my hand up and he didn't see me. It happens, but good thing it wasn't anything major. I feel better today."

Anderson told White Sox manager Rick Renteria he was available upon arrival Wednesday.

"Hopefully it will calm down," Renteria said. "But he's doing good."

Third to first

• Kopech's trademark long hair was noticeably shorter Tuesday.

"That got cut about 15 minutes before the game yesterday," said a smiling Kopech. "I'm going for more of a professional look."

• Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, who is in his 33rd and final season as the play-by-play voice on White Sox television broadcasts, will fill in for Jason Benetti during Friday's game vs. Boston. Harrelson also will work Sunday's game vs. the Red Sox, alongside former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, on a day when Harrelson will be honored before the game.

Chuck Swirsky, who handles play-by-play for Chicago Bulls radio broadcasts, will fill in for Benetti on Sept. 14 at Baltimore.

• Anderson made an appearance on MLB Central on MLB Network on Wednesday morning.