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OC Register: Is Angels LHP José Quintana, after fixing one flaw, on the cusp of success?

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Joe Maddon has seen José Quintana at his best and when he wasn’t so good, and he believes he knows now how to get the former out of him.

“We identified one area that he was really getting his butt kicked pretty good,” the Angels manager said. ”And we kind of eliminated that.”

Maddon wouldn’t elaborate on exactly what that change is, for competitive reasons, but the left-hander said it has to do with the spots in the zone where he chooses to throw his fastball.

Of course, getting the ball in the correct parts of the strike zone is about pitch selection and execution, and Quintana said he’s been working hard to improve his mechanics so he can put the ball where he wants it.

“I’m working on that a lot to get back to my best years,” Quintana said Saturday morning from Angels camp in Tempe, Ariz. “I’m a guy that throws a lot of fastballs. You saw my command was bad. I need to get my location. I have been working on that in spring training.”

Maddon is confident – not surprisingly – that Quintana can do it, because he saw plenty of him when they were together with the Chicago Cubs, from July 2017 through the 2019 season.

Quintana, 32, posted a 4.23 ERA with the Cubs under Maddon, including a 3.74 mark in the final 14 starts of 2017.

Last year was a wash.

Quintana sliced his left thumb on a broken glass while doing the dishes the day before he was to report to Cubs summer camp, requiring surgery for a severed nerve.

“It was a crazy,” Quintana said. “I got lucky I didn’t cut the tendon.”

That caused him to miss much of the season, and when he did come back he only was able to pitch 10 innings because he suffered a lat injury.

“To make judgments based on last year – the guy sliced his hand up and it’s a 60-game season and he hardly pitched at all – that’s not a good method,” Maddon said. “He looks great. He looks healthy. Here’s a guy that normally eats up innings. He’s got a repeatable delivery, a nice compact arm stroke.

“Q’s success to me lies in a good game plan and his following that game plan. I’m not talking to the point it’s so rote that he can’t go off script. Not at all. But he needs a little direction, how to attack people. When he has that, in conjunction with the good catching we have here, that’s where my faith lies.”


Interim pitching coach Matt Wise tested positive for COVID-19, leaving the team to split his duties among the other pitching coaches temporarily.

Maddon said that Wise “feels great,” and also that the other players, coaches and staff members had tested negative.

Wise, who was the bullpen coach last year, was filling in for suspended pitching coach Mickey Callaway. The Angels are investigating Callaway in the wake of allegations that inappropriately pursued several women in the media.


Jaime Barria has arrived in camp, after missing the first day because of visa issues. The three other players delayed by paperwork – Junior Guerra, Jose Quijada and Jose Alberto Rivera – still have not arrived. Rivera has arrived in the country, and should be in camp as soon as he’s completed the intake process. …

Maddon said he’s expecting all of the position players to be in camp for the first workout on Monday, with the possible exception of Anthony Rendon. Rendon lives in Texas and might be dealing with the winter storm there. …

Maddon said he’s been impressed so far with top pitching prospects Chris Rodriguez and Reid Detmers, and that both could contribute in the big leagues sometime in 2021. He also said he’s not opposed to either one of them making his debut out of the bullpen. Both are still projected as starters.

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