Pitcher Michael Kopech (34) of the Greenville Drive warms up before a game against the Savannah Sand Gnats on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Kopech was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Savannah won in 11, 7-5. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Boston Red Sox 2014 first-round draft pick Michael Kopech was suspended for 50 games on Thursday after the commissioner’s office said he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
The Greenville Drive righty appeared in 16 games this season and was 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA and 70 strikeouts. Last month he was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team.
He released the following statement to MiLB.com:
“I would like to start by apologizing to all of baseball, baseball fans, and specifically the Red Sox and Red Sox fan base. I respect the game as much, if not more than, anyone else. With that being said, I never have and never will intentionally cheat the game that has been so great to me. I haven’t bought any supplements that aren’t NSF certified for sport. Therefore, I know I have not bought a supplement containing this drug. I have never heard of Oxilofrine, honestly. Apparently, it is a drug that many people use for weight loss. I have been trying to gain weight since I signed with the Red Sox. I do understand this is also a stimulant. This drug would have no positive outcome for me and that’s why I chose to appeal. I realized I didn’t have much evidence to prove that I’m innocent, but I didn’t have any understanding of how I could have failed a test. I respect the system and understand why they have to be so careful with the testing. I also understand why that means my suspension couldn’t have been overturned without proper evidence. I have 50 games to get to work and better myself and as a ball player. Next season I’ll be better than ever. Drug free.”
Second baseman Yoan Moncada (24) of the Greenville Drive watches his game-tying double in the 8th inning of a game against the Charleston RiverDogs on Sunday, June 28, 2015, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Charleston cane back to win, 12-9. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (48) of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch in a Spring Training game against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, at Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Yankees won, 12-5. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)