On what would have been Opening Day, the White Sox made a roster move.
The team optioned Michael Kopech to Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. The move was hardly unexpected, but with baseball at a standstill while the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's difficult to read too much into anything.
Had the 2020 season proceeded in a regular fashion, it was expected that Kopech would start the year in the minor leagues, where the White Sox could work him up to full strength in the wake of his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Kopech hasn't pitched in anything more than an instructional league or spring training game since September 2018. The 134.1 innings he threw in 2017 are the most he's logged in a single professional season. And with just four big league starts and 14.1 big league innings under his belt, it was understandable the White Sox would want to take their time reintroducing Kopech to high-octane, competitive baseball.
But the indefinite delay of the start of the season might throw a wrench in those plans.
No one knows when the season will begin. Even though the league is reportedly hoping for an early June start, that's nothing more than a hope with things in a constant state of change.
If the White Sox end up playing a significantly smaller amount of games than the originally schedule 162, does that change the plan for Kopech? If he's not expected to throw as many innings in a shortened season, will it be necessary for him to start at the minor league level?
Just because this roster move was made on Thursday doesn't mean it has to stick two months from now or whenever the White Sox ultimately need to set their Opening Day roster.
These are answers we just don't have at the moment. Like the White Sox sending Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes to Triple-A earlier this month, Thursday's move of Kopech might not be the final roster decision for him between now and whenever Opening Day arrives.
Kopech excited fans by hitting triple digits on multiple pitches in his one inning of Cactus League work, re-sparking hopes that he can still be the dominant flamethrower he was before surgery. If he begins to reach that potential during the 2020 season (whenever it takes place), it would go a long way toward fortifying the White Sox starting rotation.
But for now, he's a Charlotte Knight.
White Sox send Michael Kopech to Triple-A Charlotte originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago