Quintana turns attention to regular season

Quintana turns attention to regular season

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Saturday's return to the mound for Jose Quintana didn't have quite the fanfare of his 5 2/3 no-hit innings thrown for Colombia against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic last Friday. In fact, the action took place during a Minor League contest on the back fields of Camelback Ranch.

"It's a different feeling, especially when you throw a Minor League game," a smiling Quintana said. "But it's a good time to work on something, when you want to work on it.

"I had a good time last week with my country and now I have my focus on the season. We have two more weeks and ready to go."

Quintana, who figures to earn his first Opening Day start, threw six innings and 81 pitches on the Minor League side. He pitched a couple of innings out of the stretch to work on his changeup and quick step and even got into the excitement of his team scoring a few runs in the dugout.

Alfonso Soriano, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova were a few of the veterans Quintana remembers interacting with him back when the southpaw was on the Minor League side and they took part in a Spring Training contest.

"Now I try to be fun with them, too," Quintana said. "I keep doing that because they don't have too much opportunity to talk with us. And when I go there, I try to spend good time with them and talk to somebody. It was good. It was fun and I enjoy this time with the Minor Leaguers."

Minaya heading to disabled list

 Juan Minaya suffered an abdominal tear when he last pitched March 15 against the Royals. He left that game due to the injury and according to White Sox manager Rick Renteria, the right-hander will have two weeks of rest.

"We'll try and treat it," Renteria said. "Hopefully it responds and we get him back on the field moving forward and progressing back to pitching."

Minaya, 26, fanned nine over 5 2/3 innings of Cactus League work. He had a shot at one of the final two bullpen openings, but will start the season on the disabled list.

Kopech earns high praise

The five strikeouts recorded by Michael Kopech over two innings Friday against the World Series champion Cubs earned high praise from manager Joe Maddon.

"That's a really good arm. It was kind of like watching Aroldis Chapman the way the ball reacts at home plate," Maddon told reporters Saturday. "I talked about that with Chapman last year.

"When you're in the dugout, the last 15, 20 feet, it's just different the way the ball arrives in the catcher's mitt. Really good delivery, nice breaking ball, really interesting."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.