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Jose Quintana Out After Thumb Surgery Courtesy of Washing Dishes

Yesterday marked the mandatory reporting date for baseball players as they start what now is known as Summer Camp before the season begins later this month. Teams have seen players come to their home ballparks and were tested for COVID-19 before full workouts get underway on Friday. We’ve seen several players opt out of playing this season and, already, before we even get to working out, there’s an injury on the books that could have some impact, especially in a short, 60-game season.

Jose Quintana, the left-handed starting pitcher for the Cubs, has already hit the shelf before the first workout of the summer. He underwent microsurgery on his thumb after suffering a cut while, of all things, washing dishes. The injury required only five stitches but he had injured a nerve in his thumb, which was repaired during the surgery. After the surgery took place, the organization released a statement about Quintana, saying the following: "This morning in Chicago, Quintana underwent microscopic surgery on his left thumb to further determine the extent of his injury. The procedure identified a lacerated digital sensory nerve in his left thumb, which was surgically repaired."

Quintana will miss a couple of weeks before he gets back to throwing. At that point in time, it will be determined how long it will take for him to get back up to speed and see if he can contribute. Theo Epstein admitted that there is no clear timetable for Quintana, saying: “There’s some uncertainty right now surrounding his timetable. We’ll just have to wait and see. He’ll be able to throw in approximately two weeks. And then from there, it’ll really depend on how he feels and how the thumb feels. There’s a best case scenario in which it heals quickly and his thumb feels good and he can resume a pretty rapid ramp-up from that point. He’s been built up and he’s pretty far along. But there’s certainly another scenario in which the nerve takes longer to heal and he’s going to be significantly delayed. We really can’t forecast. We just have to wait and see and hope for the best when he’s able to start throwing in a couple weeks.”

Quintana came to the Cubs in 2017 in a deal that sent top prospects Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez to the south side of Chicago in a crosstown swap. He is 33-23 with a 4.23 ERA, a 1.303 WHIP, 135 walks and 408 strikeouts over 429.2 innings in 78 appearances, 77 starts, in his tenure with the Cubs. That includes a 13-9 record with a 4.68 ERA, a 1.386 WHIP, 46 walks and 152 strikeouts over 171 innings in 32 appearances, 31 starts, last season.

His injury could be problematic for the Cubs, who have some question marks in their pitching staff this season. After a quiet offseason, Chicago was banking on good health to try and get things back on track after their collapse down the stretch cost them a potential fifth straight playoff appearance. With Jon Lester, Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs have three proven starters, while Quintana would have been a fourth. If he is out for any period of time, the team will have to look to guys like Tyler Chatwood, Colin Rea, Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay in order to get through. Those guys are going to have to step up and contribute, as will the rest of the arms that end up in the bullpen as the first few turns through the rotation are likely to be abbreviated ones due to having to build up arms after the long layoff.

This could be the first of a series of injuries for players in this shortened season. However, this could be the frontrunner for the most bizarre injury of the season.

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