Kopech undergoes successful TJ surgery

White Sox prospect should be ready for Spring Training in 2020

September 19th, 2018

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox announced on Wednesday that rookie right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, and he is back home recovering from a successful procedure.

The operation was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Kopech is expected to make a full recovery in time to participate at Spring Training in 2020.

"Hopefully it will be the last time he ever has to live through something like this," manager Rick Renteria said before the middle game of the series against the Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field.

Renteria offered advice to Kopech, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 13 overall by MLB Pipeline, on what to expect over the next year and a half. Renteria told him the recovery process may at times be more of a mental grind than physical.

"Obviously it went well, and I think he understands intellectually what it's going to require of him," Renteria said. "And I'm sure that as driven as he is, he'll understand the heart it's going to take to continue to work through this.

"It's a patient process to make sure he comes through this as well as possible [and] to give himself a chance to be that guy we all believe he's gonna be once he's recovered."

Kopech, 22, was part of the blockbuster deal that sent left-hander Chris Sale to the Red Sox. The White Sox acquired and outfield prospect Luis Basabe in that trade in December 2016. Kopech, who was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 21, started four games in the Majors before sustaining the season-ending UCL injury on Sept. 8.

With the Sox, Kopech went 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.

"He is a guy who is very disciplined, he's a hard worker but I think we're probably gonna stay on top of him to make sure he doesn't do more than what he's supposed to," Renteria said. "Sometimes I think more is better, and that's not necessarily the case. It's guarded, it's measured, it's following a protocol of routine and work and, obviously, healing."

Worth noting

• All-Star first baseman was released from a Cleveland hospital on Wednesday after he was admitted the previous day to treat an infection in his right thigh. According to Renteria, Abreu is on a "heavy dose" of antibiotics and is recuperating at the team hotel. However, Renteria also didn't rule out Abreu missing the remainder of the season.

"I'm not gonna put him in any position to feel pressured to return for the weekend [series at home against the Cubs]," Renteria said. "We're not gonna be in any rush to get him back on the field. I think the most important thing is for that thing is to maintain sterility, it's clean, and it's not putting him in any position where we could aggravate it."

• Catcher is day to day with a hyperextended left elbow sustained during a swing on Sunday against the Orioles. Renteria said Castillo aggravated the elbow swinging during batting practice.

• Outfielder Nicky Delmonico was again out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, as he recovers from neck stiffness sustained on Sunday. Castillo and Delmonico both sat out Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Tribe.

"It's a long season," Renteria said. "We're not the only club who goes through a lot of aches and pains, things of that nature. We have to make sure they are able to participate in a safe fashion."