By Bruce Levine–
SAN DIEGO (CBS) — After getting the great news Sunday about making the American League All-Star team, White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana got more good news Monday. Making his first trip to the All-Star Game after being perennially underrate, Quintana will take the mound Tuesday evening in San Diego, AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals confirmed.
As teammate Chris Sale gets the start, Quintana will be the fifth pitcher for the AL, Yost said. That means he’ll likely pitch the fifth inning, as Yost’s current plan is to use his pitchers for one inning. If that plan changes and Sale goes two innings as starters often do, Quintana would be pushed back to the sixth inning.
Quintana was ecstatic to hear he’ll get the chance to pitch.
“This is so great to hear,” Quintana said. “This seems like a dream for me.”
Quintana’s resume has been impressive. Although the wins aren’t in place, advanced metrics and the eye test tell you he’s been an elite pitcher for several seasons now. Quintana is 7-8 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this year. His 2.9 WAR is third in the AL among pitchers.
“I am so proud of Jose being here,” Sale said. “His work ethic is so great. I am blown away by his preparation in between starts. I have learned a lot from him.”
The feeling is mutual from Quintana back to his teammate.
“I get to follow him and watch the way he handles hitters,” Quintana said. “It’s amazing to work with him and try to beat American League teams. We also try to work with the younger guys as well. We all pay attention to each other’s starts and try to work together. We feel we have to be responsible for our teammates.”
The 27-year-old Quintana was excited by the fact that he’s a recognizable name in the baseball world now.
“That is so great and important to know everyone knows me now,” Quintana said. “I feel more responsible to my city and teammates and organization. I am so happy and hope to enjoy this moment and experience with my family.”
Quintana will likely get the chance to face a Cubs hitter, as four of them are in the starting lineup.
“It is amazing they have so many players to represent them at the All-Star Game,” Quintana said. “This is great for the city of Chicago. My focus is to help the American League win. There is a lot of competition in the city of Chicago. Those are big games against the Cubs, but all of our games are very important.”
Over the past five seasons, Quintana leads baseball in no-decisions, but he doesn’t dwell on the past.
“I can’t control what has happened,” Quintana said. “I can only control how I prepare for the future starts. That is what I think about. That begins with my time to pitch in this game.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.