Quintana has more spring struggles

Jose Quintana faced nine batters and did not record an out before he was lifted Tuesday. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The Chicago White Sox’s second best starter, who was expected to get the No. 4 spot in the 2014 rotation, was as bad as they get Tuesday during his Cactus League outing.

Jose Quintana faced nine Oakland Athletics batters and did not record an out before he was lifted after throwing 36 pitches. He gave up seven hits and two walks and now has two starts this spring when he didn’t make it out of the first inning. On March 8, he faced only two batters when he was hit in the lower left leg by a comebacker.

His ERA ballooned from 16.50 to a whopping 30.00 and he officially has just six innings pitched this spring in four starts.

“It’s a bad day for me,” Quintana told reporters in Arizona. “That’s the first time I went through the whole lineup without making an out. I made a couple mistakes, but I will continue my preparation and be ready for the season.”

Now the left-hander has just two spring outings remaining to prepare for the start of the season. If he pitches again in five more days, his next start would be Sunday against the Colorado Rockies.

By staying on that schedule, his final outing would be March 28. He could pitch in the White Sox’s last tune-up game against their Double-A affiliate in Birmingham that day, or he could remain behind in Arizona and pitch in a minor-league game.

Quintana and Chris Sale both reached the 200-innings-pitched plateau last season and were expected to be the team’s most dependable starters. Because of that dependability, the White Sox wanted to separate their two innings eaters in the rotation, to make sure the bullpen had alternating days that would be less taxing.

Now the coaching staff might have to review that plan.

The way the rotation was lined up this spring, Sale was set to pitch first followed by John Danks, Felipe Paulino, Quintana and Erik Johnson. If the team does any juggling now it would likely take place with the final three members of the rotation.

Quintana could even be pushed back to the No. 5 spot. Because of an off day during the season’s opening week, the fifth starter wouldn’t be needed until the team’s sixth game on April 6 in Kansas City. If they went that route, Sale would actually get two starts before the No. 5 starter even made his season debut.

“A couple of pitches, some pitches in different situations, there were mistakes,” Quintana said. “I feel real good with my breaking ball but everybody hit it off me. I need to continue my preparation and I will be fine.”