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)