GLENDALE, Ariz. -- His fastball touched 101 mph in the first inning and sat consistently in the 96-98 range. For Michael Kopech, that's routine stuff."The velocity is going to be there for me," Kopech said.What really pleased him Monday afternoon was the handful of changeups -- he guessed seven or
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- His fastball touched 101 mph in the first inning and sat consistently in the 96-98 range. For Michael Kopech, that's routine stuff.
"The velocity is going to be there for me," Kopech said.
What really pleased him Monday afternoon was the handful of changeups -- he guessed seven or eight -- that he threw during a two-inning scoreless stint against the Athletics at Camelback Ranch.
"I felt like it was pretty good," Kopech said. "I got behind in the count a couple times, and it gave me an opportunity to really work on my changeup and offspeed pitches. It helped me really focus on staying behind it and getting a strike with the pitch. I feel like it was a productive pitch, and I was OK with it."
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Asked how he thought hitters reacted, Kopech said: "I feel like I got the reaction I wanted. A couple got away from me. I threw three for a called strike, two were swung over and one was fouled off, so I got a few strikes out of it. I feel comfortable with it and taking it into my next outing."
Kopech, MLB Pipeline's No. 10 overall prospect and No. 2 in a loaded White Sox system, finished last season with 22 starts at Double-A Birmingham and averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
The 21-year-old came here to polish and get comfortable with his changeup. Once he's there -- and he's close -- Kopech's ticket to the big leagues will be punched.
The former first-round pick made three appearances (two starts) last year in big league camp, but this one is different. Instead of merely getting a feel for things, Kopech is here to show he belongs.
"Yes, and it's not the first time I've thrown to [catcher Kevan] Smith," Kopech said. "Kevan and I were on the same page, we talked about things before we went into the game and it worked out where I was comfortable before I even took the mound. It was a much more productive outing than my first one last year, and yes I did feel more comfortable this year."
Top prospect Eloy Jimenez is slowed by a sore left knee and won't play for a day or two.
"We're very, very cautious with him," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "As soon as we get a nice feel for where he's at and he feels comfortable, we'll start inserting him into the lineup."
Matt Davidson is off to a hot start in his bid to win the starting job at third base or designated hitter. He drove in his fifth run of the spring with a third-inning double as the White Sox won their third straight Cactus League game in beating the Athletics, 7-6. He is hitting .500 for the spring.
• The White Sox executed a perfect suicide squeeze in a three-run fourth with left fielder Charlie Tilson laying down a sacrifice bunt to score Rondon from third.
• Tyler Saladino, who played second on Monday, is hitting .571.
No. 9 prospect Carson Fulmer gets his first start of the spring at 2:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday (MLB.TV) when the White Sox play Jonathan Lester and the Cubs in Mesa.