Michael Kopech, the Red Sox pitching prospect who broke his hand in a fight with his spring training roommate, will have to wait six weeks before throwing again after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in said hand.
Given that we had no guarantee that Kopech would even pitch again in 2016 after the incident in question, this is actually good news. At this pace, Kopech could well be back in a minor league rotation--be it Greenville where he threw 65 innings in 2015, or Salem where a natural progression would have taken him--by the end of May.
Whether he should be given the bump up to Salem is up for debate. The fact is that since his last start in a Red Sox uniform, Michael Kopech has been suspended for using a banned substance, and injured himself fighting a teammate. It's a terrible look, and the sort of thing that might keep him in Greenville for two reasons.
First, there's simply experience. Kopech was killing it in Low-A, pitching to a 2.63 ERA, but in missing the second half, he ended up with just those 65 innings. The Red Sox have promoted players with less experience, but given all the time lost, it's easy to argue a promotion would be premature.
But perhaps more importantly, there's the disciplinary aspect to all this. The Red Sox aren't the parents grounding their unruly child, but there's something to be said for not rewarding a player who's shown he's an off-the-field risk with a promotion. Regardless of whether or not Kopech was knowingly taking a banned substance, and whether or not he was the one who instigated the fight, he needs to grow up and stop putting himself in these career-threatening situations. And if the Red Sox don't take the opportunity to tie career progress to maturity both in terms of baseball and in terms of life, they'll be that much more likely to find themselves back in this same situation with Kopech down the line.
So we'll see you in May or June, Michael Kopech. Hopefully we won't be talking about another incident before the year is out. Or even five years from now. You've already had enough controversy for a full career.