NEW YORK — Even before the start of the season — 2023 was already said to be filled with frustration for the Mets — injuries to key players made the team a World Series title contender.
One of those numbers, Colombian starter Jose Quintana, was sidelined until mid-July with a rib injury. For the left-hander, frustration was high as he didn’t have to spend much time on the disabled list.
“That wound was crazy,” Quintana told LasMayores.com, adding that the disease was so unusual that the tests performed had one to confirm that it was not cancer.
“I had cancer tests to check [de que no hubiera] “There’s nothing dangerous or if there’s cancer,” Kudam explained, “because it was rare to have just one bad bone.” But they were able to do research and found that there was nothing, they had to clean up the bone and debris.
“At first, it was a big scare for a couple of days until I got the results, but after that I knew it was God’s blessing that I was able to recover and get back on the field, and that’s what I wanted.”
Unfortunately, he returned to the mound at a time when Queens had already clinched much of the NL East and wild card races. However, since his debut in New York — curiously on July 20, Colombia’s Independence Day — Quintana has shown just how valuable he can be to his team’s rotation.
Of his eight outings this year, seven have given up three runs or less and gone at least 5.0 innings, most recently against the Rangers on Tuesday, where he pitched 6.0 shutout innings and limited the Texan powerhouse lineup to three wins.
Quintana is very grateful for his results so far and now that he is healthy again, he is confident that he can carry that good performance into next season.
“I feel really good, I really enjoyed the time,” the left-back said. “As players, this is what we like to be on the field, and I think it’s important to always have the opportunity to play, share with the boys and compete. We know how to do it, it’s what we’ve always wanted to do, so I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”
While the Mets haven’t lived up to their lofty expectations this year, Quintana sees the final month of the season as a foundation for the team’s future success. For this reason, focus on the team continues to improve.
“This year is tough; “In the first months of the season, all of a sudden we couldn’t adapt, we couldn’t be consistent,” declared Quintana. “But the work goes on … I believe it’s starting to build now for the future. I believe that’s the vision of the organization. On our side as players, we have to continue to work hard and do things better day in and day out to find that consistency.”
With just a few innings this season, it remains to be seen if the experienced Quintana, who has two starts for Águilas Cibaeñas in the 2021-22 season, will start in LIDOM — or one of the alternatives in another winter league. He should continue his work ahead of the 2024 season.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it. I don’t know if the team will let me. It’s true that I haven’t thrown that many innings, but I’ll have to talk to them to see what the plan is,” the pitcher said, noting another goal for the future:
“I like [lanzar en] my country In the Dominican Republic, it was a beautiful experience, the level of the winter league was spectacular,” Quintana said. “But at some point I want to be in my country, with my people. For me, what I saw and played in Winter was very inspiring [Edgar] Renteria and [Orlando] Cabrera has to play there, so I think it will be great”.
Colombian baseball progress
Colombian baseball has already made an impact at the highest levels of international baseball, first with notable participation in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and then the 2022 Caribbean Series title. Quintana is hopeful that achievements like these will bring more attention to the country’s youth. Baseball players, thus more Colombian talent continue to emerge towards the majors.
“It’s very important. I think a lot of minor leaguers have benefited from those tournaments,” Quintana said. “There’s more opportunity now; they’re looking at us more. Scouts Teams sign players in our nation’s free agency.
“So it continues to grow. They’ve also built new stadiums in Colombia — there are new stadiums in Barranquilla and Monterrey — so hopefully boys will be encouraged to play baseball, not just soccer.”