Michael Kopech's Tommy John surgery was a success.
The White Sox announced Wednesday that Kopech underwent the procedure Tuesday to address the significant tear in his UCL and that he is on track to return for spring training ahead of the 2020 season.
RHP Michael Kopech yesterday underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, Calif. Kopech is expected to make a full recovery in time to fully participate at spring training prior to the 2020 season.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 19, 2018
This was the expected outcome when the team announced Kopech's injury two days after he made his fourth major league start. But the news that day sent a shockwave through the fan base, one of the brightest young stars of the rebuild slated to miss a full season as he recovers from this significant injury.
The White Sox said then that Kopech would likely be ready to go for spring 2020, a season many fans and observers have circled as one where the franchise could shift from rebuilding mode into contention mode. Of course, the delaying of Kopech's first full big league season — and the valuable development that comes with that — throws into question what kind of contributor he can be should the rest of the team be ready to win. Similarly, does the delayed developmental time for Kopech and the host of other prospects who suffered significant injuries this year shift the timeline of the entire rebuilding effort?
Those questions won't be able to be answered until Kopech and the rest get back on the field.
The completed surgery brings with it the same projection from 12 days ago, that Kopech should be ready to go by spring 2020. As we wait for that date, the rebuild will progress without him. What will the puzzle and his place in it look like by then? Just another element of the waiting game on the South Side.