March 8, 2016 at 3:30 PM
Right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech (pictured, right) fractured his throwing hand in an altercation with a teammate. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com was the first to report the injury, which has since been confirmed by General Manager Mike Hazen in a statement to the media. Kopech entered the season as the fifth-ranked prospect in the SoxProspects.com rankings.
This is the second off-field incident for Kopech in the past year. His season was cut short in 2015 when he was suspended 50 games for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program after testing positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine. He completed that suspension at the end of the season and was able to participate in the Fall Instructional League, showing the promise that made him such a highly rated prospect.
When able to take the field, Kopech has shown impressive ability. The 6-foot-3 righty can touch 100 mph with his fastball, and complements it with a slider and changeup that are works in progress. Prior to his suspension, he was able to throw 65 innings for the Greenville Drive, posting a 2.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 70 strikeouts to 27 walks. Kopech spoke about focusing on his changeup and fastball location during his suspension, but fans will have to wait to see that progress in regular season action.
Details about the incident and the extent of the injury are not yet available. It is also unknown when he will be able to return to the field.
Will Woodward is a Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.