Jose Quintana’s return can’t come soon enough for bottom of Mets’ rotation

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Jose Quintana Mets
Jose Quintana (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

From the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, Mets manager Buck Showalter said he watched video of rehabbing southpaw starter Jose Quintana throwing on Tuesday while maintaining the fact that the 34-year-old looks good.

A CT scan on Friday helped reinforce that Quintana is ahead of schedule, per Showalter, after undergoing surgery to remove a benign lesion on his left rib. It gave him the green light to begin throwing off a mound for the first time since spring training when he was originally sidelined for what was expected to be until at least mid-to-late July.

While his return may come sooner, the excitement for Showalter had to be limited just a bit.

“I get a little down about seeing their schedule with him,” Showalter said. “It reminds me that he’s just starting spring training.”

That would suggest there is at least a one-month ramp-up for Quintana, whose return couldn’t hurt the bottom of the Mets’ rotation, which has struggled to supply consistently dependable outings for Showalter.

Tylor Megill Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher Tylor Megill heads to the dugout after being pulled from the baseball game by manager Buck Showalter during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

While fellow southpaw David Peterson won International Player of the Week for the Triple-A Syracuse Mets after going eight innings of scoreless, two-hit ball with nine strikeouts, there’s likely more to prove in order to get another call back up to the big leagues after going 1-6 with an 8.08 ERA in Queens this season.

Tylor Megill was roughed up on Tuesday night in the Mets’ 7-2 loss to the Cubs, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits. He has a 5.29 ERA over his last six starts after starting the year 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Granted, anything coming from either of the two is more of an added bonus considering both were told at the end of spring training that they’d start the season in the minors. 

Additionally, Megill has been far more dependable than Carlos Carrasco, who returned from a month-long absence due to a bone spur in his elbow and an illness on Friday only to get ripped for five runs in five innings of work against his former team, the Cleveland Guardians. 

Having made just four starts this season, the 36-year-old right-hander has an 8.68 ERA.

Carlos Carrasco Mets Brewers
New York Mets’ Carlos Carrasco reacts after giving up a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, April 3, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Quintana doesn’t have to necessarily pitch as stellar as he did last season. He went 6-7 with a 2.93 ERA which included a 12-start span with the St. Louis Cardinals after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he posted a 2.01 ERA. What he’ll have to do is be able to eat innings at the bottom half of the rotation to round out a group that looks as though its top arms in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are finally settling into a groove.

“I’ve been feeling great,” Quintana said on Friday. “I’m ready to keep progressing on the mound. When I heard the great news that I had the green light, it was time to get ready for baseball, get ready to be sharp, and contribute to this team.”



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