His pitching coach, however, is concerned — as apparently Kopech hasn’t talked with him or any of his teammates about the decision.
“I don’t know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he’s OK,” Don Cooper said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he’s feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Kopech, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, opened up about his battles with anxiety and depression earlier this year.
The 24-year-old said he’d made several changes in his life ahead of spring training to help combat that, including dropping social media. Kopech got married this past offseason, too.
“I’ve had a few changes, I guess,” he told the Chicago Tribune in January. “But, yeah, absolutely, I have noticed. I’ve been much more aware of my surroundings. I’ve been able to interact with people genuinely and not based on what I know about them or how I view them or how they view me. I think that’s how interactions are meant to be.
“And on top of that, I think it’s going to make me a better baseball player because it’s going to take those pressures off me that I put on myself.”
Cooper said he thought Koepch was doing well earlier this year, too. He did, however, miss the start of summer camp earlier this month due to a personal matter.
Given his decision to opt out quietly, Cooper is a bit worried.
“Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place,” Cooper said, via the Sun-Times. “But let me put it this way: I sure hope the kid is OK.
“I’m concerned that he’s not OK.”
‘We support him 100 percent’
Though Cooper may have some concern, he does believe that Kopech will explain his reasoning for opting out of the season in due time.
Right now, though, he’s just not ready.
“Michael has been pretty open and available to [the media] on a lot of tough topics, but he’s not in the mood to talk right now,” Cooper said, via the Sun-Times. “When Michael is ready to talk, then you are going to get the real deal.’’
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