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Prospect Michael Kopech breaks hand in fight with roommate

A timetable for Michael Kopech’s return after breaking his hand is to be determined.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff/File

SARASOTA, Fla. — Michael Kopech could use a fresh start.

The righthander, who was a supplemental first-round pick in 2014 (33d overall), served a 50-game suspension for a positive amphetamine test last season, and it was learned Tuesday that he broke his right hand two days ago in a fight with a roommate.

Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen said he was “very disappointed” in Kopech’s actions.

“We’re still trying to figure out what the medical is going to be,” Hazen said. “So, more tests to see what we’re dealing with.

“I know he was very apologetic and disappointed in what happened and certainly now he’s going to pay for it with more lost time.”


Hazen called it a small fracture, but the injury is still being diagnosed.

Kopech, 19, who was wearing a cast, is ranked by most analysts among the top 100 prospects in baseball and among the top five in the Red Sox system.

Kopech posted a 2.63 ERA in 15 starts at Single A Greenville before the suspension last season, striking out 70 and walking 27 in 65 innings.

Kopech was drafted out of Mount Pleasant (Texas) High and received a $1.5 million bonus. Overall, he is 4-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 24 minor league games, with 86 strikeouts in 78⅓ innings.

Asked what the latest incident says about Kopech’s character, Hazen said, “It’s disappointing. It’s very disappointing. It was stupid.

“He knows he’s going to have to grow up with the things that have happened so far. He’s got a long road to go to get to the big leagues. He obviously has a ton of talent and potential.

“You don’t want to put more barriers in front of you that professional baseball already presents to you.”

Earlier in camp, Kopech discussed his suspension with the Globe, saying, “I wouldn’t want to call it a blessing in disguise, but it kind of is.


“Having six, seven, eight months now to be angry, to be fueled about where next season goes, it’s all I needed. It’s another push. It’s helped — even though I would hate to give any credit to it, it’s helped me.

“I think this season will prove a lot for me. I know how hard I’ve worked, and I know what I need to do this season. I think it will prove a lot of people wrong and a few people right.”

Hazen said the time frame on Kopech’s return is wide open, depending on the severity of the fracture.

Vazquez back in place

Big day for catcher Christian Vazquez, who caught two innings in Tuesday’s game against Baltimore, his first game action since his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

“I’m happy to get back, excited,” Vazquez said. “It was my goal to get to the field. It was a long year. I was hoping somebody [tried to] steal.”

Both starting catchers — Vazquez and the Orioles’ Matt Wieters — have had to make comebacks from Tommy John surgery.

Vazquez spoke to Wieters last year about his journey, and the Sox catcher has experienced his own long struggle.

Vazquez is expected to start the season in Pawtucket to get much-needed playing time. He is scheduled to be behind the plate again Friday vs. the Blue Jays.

Glove work

A big theme in exhibition games has been the Red Sox’ shoddy infield defense, but there was none in their 5-1 win over the Orioles. John Farrell emphasized it at the coaches meeting in the morning.


“We know that we’re capable of better, and we’re working to do just that,” said the manager. “That’s our daily work, to get better as a daily unit, and we’ve got to continue to work at that.”

Farrell doesn’t think it’s too early to make defense an issue.

“We’ve got work to do,” he said.

One of the issues has been poor throws by Pablo Sandoval and Xander Bogaerts. With a novice at first base in Hanley Ramirez, it’s important for infielders to be pinpoint with throws.

While the Red Sox have been positive about Ramirez’s work ethic, one of the toughest things for a new first baseman is scooping off-the-mark throws.

That could be vital to the pitching staff, which doesn’t want to give the opposition extra outs.

Farrell said Sandoval has been working on his range and his first step.

“We’re going through daily work to get caught up to speed,” said Farrell. “Hanley’s exposure to first has gone as anticipated, largely in part because of the way he’s worked, and that’s a compliment to him.

“But still, like we said, we’re far from a finished product, and in these coming weeks, it’s a focal point for us.”

Just a simulation

Rick Porcello threw a simulated game back in Fort Myers, along with Craig Kimbrel and Junichi Tazawa. Porcello threw 55 pitches to 13 batters over three innings, with Blake Swihart catching. Kimbrel threw 20 pitches to five batters in one inning and Tazawa threw 19 pitches to four batters in one inning . . . The Orioles signed free agent Pedro Alvarez to a one-year, $5 million deal. Now the trick is finding playing time for him and Mark Trumbo, both of whom project as a DH. Alvarez has hit 30-plus homers twice in his career . . . The Red Sox had all of their major executives at the game, including Hazen, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, and senior vice president of baseball ops Frank Wren.


Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.