Jose Quintana expressed a mixture of frustration and fortune regarding the cut nerve in his left thumb that has altered the back end of the Chicago Cubs rotation.
Quintana said he suffered the injury while washing a wine glass in his Miami home the night before he was scheduled to depart for Chicago for summer training camp.
Earlier that day, Quintana said he threw the equivalent of four innings and 50 to 55 pitches.
“Rough stuff,” he said Tuesday on a conference call. “A lot of frustration. It was an accident.”
Quintana said the stem of the wine glass shattered and inflicted the wound.
The next two weeks could dictate how soon he might be able to rejoin a rotation that currently has Tyler Chatwood as the third starter and Jon Lester and Alec Mills tentatively holding the last two spots. The Cubs are monitoring Lester’s workload closely because of the mileage on his 36-year-old arm.
Quintana, who is throwing on flat ground from 90 to 105 feet, hopes to throw off a mound in the next seven to 10 days and believes he’ll be able to throw a curveball soon without any discomfort in his thumb.
“I don’t know when I’ll be available to pitch, but so far I feel great,” said Quintana, who underwent surgery July 2 and started his throwing program Thursday. “And it seems right now it’s more important for my shoulder and body to be healthy.
“My thumb feels great. No pain is good. But I know it’s too soon to say how it’s going to feel (throwing) a bullpen (session). Honestly, I don’t want to say too much. I want to show how I feel on the mound and show everything I have.”
General manager Jed Hoyer last week equated Quintana’s eventual return to adding a player via a midseason trade.
Manager David Ross also expressed cautious optimism about the return of Quintana, 31, who is 33-23 with a 4.23 ERA since joining the Cubs midway through the 2017 season from the White Sox for Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and two minor-league players.
“He hasn’t (thrown curves or changed grips) yet,” Ross said. “All that stuff comes into play. I didn’t hear what he said to you guys, but all I’ve talked to him is that he’s on pace. Things feel good, and we’ll continue to progress daily to move forward as rehab protocols dictate.”
Quintana knows he has a long way to regain the shoulder strength. He wasn’t allowed to perform cardio work to avoid infection in the thumb but was lifting weights.
The injury doesn’t help his stock as a free agent after this season. He is in the final year of a contract that will pay him a prorated portion of $11.5 million.
“(Free agency) is on my mind, but I try not to pay attention to that,” Quintana said. “I don’t have any time, honestly, to focus on free agency. Just focus on being ready.
“It’s tough when you see too many days ahead when you’re going to be on the mound, but I can wait.”
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