Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana’s return would benefit team

Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The possible return of southpaw Jose Quintana would greatly benefit the Chicago Cubs’ chances of contending in 2020.

Summer camp has been underway, and exhibition games have already begun. These exhibition games have provided a first look at the 2020 Chicago Cubs thus far and gave insight as to what to expect from the ballclub in a shortened 60-game season–as well as the different areas of the team that need work. Undoubtedly, one of these areas is the starting rotation. Southpaw Jose Quintana was supposed to be an integral part of the Cubs’ rotation.

Yet, all it took was the 31-year-old to cut his left thumb on a piece of glass on June 27, the day before he was supposed to leave for summer camp to put his 2020 season in Chicago in jeopardy. As a result, Quintana needed microscopic surgery on July 2 to repair a sensory nerve and had undergone microscopic surgery. For two weeks after the surgery, he wasn’t allowed to throw, but he kept up with workouts.

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Before his injury, Quintana was projected to be the No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the rotation, but due to his absence, it looks like Tyler Chatwood will be guaranteed a starting rotation spot. Of course, Opening Day starter Kyle Hendricks and veterans Jon Lester and Yu Darvish are guaranteed their respective spots, but it appears the open spot will be allotted to Alec Mills. This works for now, but the question remains: will Quintana return in 2020?

Quintana spoke to the media for the first time since cutting his thumb on Tuesday, and it looks as if he could return for the second half of the already shortened season. Yes, this does sound promising, but Quintana is still slowly recovering, and there is no specific timetable set for his return. The injury also primarily set him back to where he was before the shutdown, and he will need to work to get back to where he was.

Tuesday marked the sixth day of his throwing program, but he still has several days of long toss before he can progress to throwing off the mound again, according to Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. Hottovy also hopes Quintana will be able to throw off the mound within a week to 10 days. He has also thrown fastballs and change-ups on flat ground but no curve balls thus far.

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Having a starter like Quintana back in the rotation would significantly bolster the rotation and benefit the chances of the Cubs contending in 2020. Quintana, 31, was 13-9 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 32 appearances in 2019. Hopefully, he’ll make his full recovery soon, and we’ll see Quintana out there pitching in 2020.