Quintana perfect in spring debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Left-handed starter Jose Quintana made an early spring training statement by throwing three perfect innings for the Chicago White Sox in his 2013 Cactus League debut on Saturday.

The team’s young pitching staff has three southpaws that will break camp as rotation starters. Quintana seems to get the least attention of the group.

“I have worked hard in the offseason,” he said through a translator. “I expect to have a real good season because of the hard work I put in.”

Quintana faded badly in the second half of the 2012 season, posting a 2-5 mark after the All-Star break. He was 4-1 prior to the halfway mark. In order to avoid the same type of erosion in 2013, the young pitcher worked on conditioning over the winter.

“Last year after the season, I took a little break,” Quintana said. “After that, I went right to work concentrating on durability going into 2013.” That work included weights and cardio training.

The Colombia native was a relative unknown before signing with the White Sox as a free agent in November 2011. Quintana had been released by the New York Yankees after putting up a 10-2 record in Class A. Some baseball people were concerned about his off-field activity after serving a 50-game suspension in 2007 for violating minor league baseball’s drug-prevention program. He was released by the New York Mets after the 2007 season.

Quintana has been a solid player since joining the Sox. His offseason regimen included working on his secondary pitches.

He threw 39 pitches in his three innings of work Saturday and another 15 in the bullpen. “I am working on the changeup,” he said. “I am working on all areas of my game; the changeup is my main concentration.”

Robin Ventura liked what he saw from his young pitcher on Saturday.

“There are no problems here,” said the Sox manager. “He is a hard worker, and he comes in ready to work every day. He is committed to being a big leaguer for a long time.

“He comes in with that attitude [that] he belongs. When he is out there you think he has been around a little while.”