White Sox pitcher Quintana is poised to move into limelight
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) White Sox manager Robin venture thinks Jose Quintana just needs a little help in becoming one of the elite pitchers in the American League.
Slotted behind Chris Sale - and now Jeff Samardzija - in the White Sox rotation, Quintana has had some quiet success. With Chicago's offseason lineup changes, Quintana might become a household name, too.
''He doesn't have a lot of wins, he has a lot of no-decisions, but we're in the middle of all the games he pitches,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''A lot of times we've had leads late for him that we just couldn't hold on to.''
The low-key, 26-year-old lefty from Colombia had another solid season for Chicago in 2014, finishing with a 3.32 ERA and reaching the 200-inning plateau for the second consecutive year.
The only thing missing is victories. Quintana was 9-11 last season. He's 24-24 in his three-year career with a 3.50 ERA.
Ventura will send Quintana to the mound on Wednesday as the White Sox begin the Cactus League season against their Camelback Ranch partners, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Quintana has improved steadily since joining the rotation upon his call-up from the minors in 2012.
He only gave up 10 homers in 200 1-3 innings last season, especially impressive because he permitted just two homers in 15 starts at U.S. Cellular Field, one of the toughest parks in baseball for a pitcher. Only Los Angeles' Garrett Richards had a lower percentage of homers allowed per nine innings among American League starting pitchers.
''I was able to keep the ball down, and had good location on all my pitches, especially the fastball,'' Quintana said of his improvement.
Catcher Tyler Flowers enjoys working with Quintana.
''We always seem to be on the same page. With the talent he has, the ability to command pitches and change speeds, it makes it even more enjoyable,'' Flowers said. ''He is under the radar for now but we know how good he is and he's still getting better.''
One pitcher who knows all too well about low run support is Samardzija. He's also looking forward to the revamped batting order.
''We're a couple guys who have battled hard and worked hard and are ready to reap the benefits of having a great lineup like we have,'' Samardzija said.
Quintana is excited about additions such as Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, Samardzija and relief ace David Robertson as the White Sox take aim at moving up in the AL Central.
''It's a new team with a lot of experience,'' Quintana said. ''We got a chance to win the division. Let's do it.''
NOTE: Samardzija threw two innings in an intrasquad game, and he was glad to get back to his normal routine. ''That's the exciting part,'' Samardzija said. ''You never really get the same experience as live games. Good to get out there and my arm feels great. Continue to keep getting stronger and build from here.''