Pitching duo returns to White Sox camp after making starts for Colombia, Mexico
By Doug Miller
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Forty percent of the projected starting rotation for the White Sox reappeared in the Spring Training clubhouse at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday. In other words, it was a good day for manager Rick Renteria and his staff.
Probable Opening Day starter Jose Quintana and right-hander Miguel Gonzalez came back to the White Sox after their World Baseball Classic journeys, with Quintana pitching for his native country of Colombia and Gonzalez doing the same for Team Mexico.
Both teams were eliminated from the Classic in the first round, with Mexico bowing out in its home stadium in Guadalajara and Colombia being knocked out in Miami. But both pitchers said they were thrilled to have had the experience of pitching for their countries.
Quintana turned in one of the most impressive pitching performances of the whole Classic in his start for Colombia, going 5 2/3 innings on Friday against a Team USA roster stacked with Major League All-Stars and doing it in an economical 63 pitches to stay right on his spring schedule.
He gave up one run on only one hit, striking out four and walking one. Colombia went on to lose the game in extra innings, but Quintana had a memory for a lifetime.
"It's a different feeling when you play for your country," Quintana said. "It was so amazing, was really fun. I took one week, spent good time with my teammates. It was fun and I was really happy to be there and enjoy it."
The White Sox enjoyed watching Quintana, too. Renteria caught the game on TV and rooted on his pitcher.
"He did a very nice job," Renteria said. "We were very excited for him. His poise, his command … when you watch him, everybody seems to kind of want to downplay who he is. He's got good stuff, it's just the way he commands it. He's able to change speeds, works both sides, can get underneath a guy, elevate a pitch and then stay down."
Renteria would not announce Quintana as the team's Opening Day starter. He said that decision will probably come next week. Quintana said he's ready to get to the 75-pitch threshold in his next start, which could happen this weekend.
As for Gonzalez, the Mexican native got his Classic start on Saturday vs. Puerto Rico, and it did not go so well. He took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits in four innings. He struck out three and walked three while throwing 69 pitches. Despite not finding success, he also raved about the event.
"It felt like a playoff game for me," Gonzalez said. "Every pitch was important, and we came up short. … But it was a great experience and I'll never forget it."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.