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Kopech heats up in 1st game for White Sox since 2018

Michael Kopech quickly got back up to speed for the Chicago White Sox. In his first game since having Tommy John surgery 18 months ago, Kopech threw 11 pitches — and six reached 100 mph. "Yeah, I might have been a little geeked," he said Tuesday.

The 23-year-old right-hander started against Texas and threw a perfect inning. "The first two pitches, I felt out of control," Kopech said. “By the third pitch, I took a breath and settled back in. But I still had quite a bit of adrenaline going.”

“I felt really good, I was able to command my fastball after those first two and aside from that, just go out there and get an inning under my belt,” he said. Kopech, who made four starts in 2018 before being sidelined, was a key part of the five-player deal that sent pitcher Chris Sale to Boston after the 2016 season.

"I don't think I'm typically going to be throwing as hard as I did today," Kopech said. “I'm proud of it, I'm excited, but I'm not going to try to be a power pitcher.” Kopech's next spring appearance is scheduled for Sunday against the Seattle Mariners, but he will have to wait for a while before he returns to the White Sox rotation.

If all goes well, he figures to be on the South Side by May, but his innings will still be monitored closely in his first full season following arm surgery. Elsewhere around the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues:

PHILLIES 5, TWINS 1 Philadelphia star Bryce Harper exited after getting hit by a pitch in his left foot in the first inning. He later said he felt fine. Zack Wheeler struck out six over four innings, scattering four hits and allowing a run on a homer by Royce Lewis. J.T. Realmuto and Logan Forsythe homered for the Phillies.

Sean Poppen worked three innings in the start for Minnesota, allowing two runs on seven hits. Ehire Adrianza, Brent Rooker and Willians Astudillo each had two hits. BLUE JAYS 4, YANKEES 2 Gerrit Cole struck out six over 3 1/3 innings, giving up one run on two hits. In his previous outing, the Yankees newcomer was hit hard by Detroit. Jordan Montgomery threw four scoreless innings of relief and struck out five.

New York catcher Gary Sanchez has the flu and will be out until he's evaluated again on Friday. He missed time recently because of a sore back. Toronto starter Tanner Roark allowed one run and one hit in four innings, striking out four.

METS 7, ASTROS (SS) 4 New York outfielder Michael Conforto has a strained oblique muscle and it's too early to determine whether he will be able to play on opening day March 26 at home against Washington.

Rick Porcello gave up nine hits over 4 2/3 innings for New York. Robinson Canó drove in two runs. Framber Valdez allowed four runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. Yuli Gurriel homered for Houston. BRAVES (SS) 3, ASTROS (SS) 0

Atlanta starter Mike Soroka allowed one hit while working into the fifth inning. He was pulled after his third walk and reaching his pitch limit. Josh James allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. George Springer had two hits for the Astros.

RED SOX 3, CARDINALS 2 Competing for a spot in the Boston rotation, lefty Brian Johnson worked three innings, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks. Matt Barnes struck out the side in his inning of relief. Kevin Pillar singled and doubled.

Jack Flaherty struck out five over three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks. Paul DeJong had two singles. MARLINS 3, NATIONALS 2 Max Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start for Washington because of fatigue on his right side. The ace said there's nothing to worry about, that no MRI was done.

Juan Soto homered for the Nationals. Miami starter Caleb Smith gave up two runs in four innings. Jonathan Villar had two hits for the Nationals. TIGERS 4, PIRATES 1 Matthew Boyd, working on a curveball to go with his fastball and slider, worked into the fifth inning in his longest outing of the spring. He allowed a run on three hits and a walk and struck out five over 4 1/3 innings. C.J. Cron, Jeimer Candelario and Cameron Maybin homered for Detroit.

Derek Holland worked 5 1/3 innings in the start for the Pirates, allowing three home runs but striking out six. JT Riddle singled and tripled. RANGERS 9, WHITE SOX 2 Mike Minor worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings for Texas and Adolis Garcia hit a three-run homer.

DIAMONDBACKS 10, REDS (SS) 2 John Hicks, Kevin Cron, Josh Rojas and Trayce Thompson each homered for Arizona. Taylor Clarke struck out six over three innings in the start. Luis Castillo gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out four in the start for the Reds. Mike Moustakas homered for Cincinnati.

BREWERS 5, ROYALS (SS) 2 Brandon Woodruff allowed a run on two hits and walked two over four innings, striking out five. Josh Hader worked an inning of hitless relief. Logan Morrison and Eric Sogard each had two hits.

Brad Keller got through four innings, giving up a run on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Ian Kennedy worked two perfect innings of relief. Ryan O'Hearn drove in two runs with a double and homer.

ROYALS (SS) 4, ATHLETICS 2 Mike Fiers worked five innings for Oakland, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Nicky Lopez homered and Jorge Soler doubled twice for Kansas City.

CUBS 16, GIANTS 3 Javier Báez and Willson Contreras each got three hits, including a home run, and Ian Happ drove in three runs. Tyler Chatwood did not allow a run over 3 2/3 innings for Chicago. San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto gave up five runs on nine hits over 1 2/3 innings. Pablo Sandoval hit two doubles.

REDS (SS) 5, ROCKIES 5 Tyler Mahle struck out five over 3 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits and three walks. Jose Garcia, Cincinnati's shortstop of the future, hit his fourth home run. Chi Chi Gonzalez allowed one hit in three innings. Raimel Tapia doubled and drove in two runs.

MARINERS 3, ANGELS 1 Dylan Bundy worked four innings in the start for Los Angeles, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out five. José Marmolejos, signed to a minor league contract to compete for playing time at first base, hit his second home run of the spring.

ORIOLES 6, BRAVES 3 Hanser Alberto and Anthony Santander homered for Baltimore. Atlanta starter Ian Anderson pitched three hitless innings.

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