NEW YORK — He was hard at work again on Wednesday, but Jose Quintana took a quick break to recount his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Quintana spent the afternoon performing his normal pre-start routine with pitching coach Don Cooper in preparation for Friday's outing against the Cleveland Indians. Off to a slower-than-normal start, Quintana heads into Friday 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. But Quintana hasn't appeared flustered by his early troubles, especially when he discussed Tuesday's appearance with Fallon. The All-Star pitcher credits watching Fallon's show for helping him to improve his English speaking skills.
"It was fun," Quintana said. "It was a great time. I was excited. I was a little nervous, but it was really easy. He made it easy for me.
"I was excited and a little surprised when they asked me when we go to New York can you be on that show with him. I said, 'I will, of course, be there.'"
Quintana and Fallon shot the minute-long segment early Tuesday outside at 30 Rock. During the appearance, Fallon asked Quintana about learning English from the show, which the pitcher revealed this spring. A combination of Fallon's accent and the use of subtitles made it easier for Quintana to recognize the English being spoken. Quintana offered Fallon several examples before he taught the host a few phrases in Spanish, including ending the segment with a one-liner.
The left-hander said he watched the segment on his phone after Tuesday's victory over the New York Yankees. He also added he has no plans of pursuing an acting career.
"He was a good guy," Quintana said. "He was a natural guy. It was fun. It was a great experience for me, and he asked me a lot about baseball, and we spent a good time together.
"I'll keep pitching. But it was good, and we had a meeting and spent a really good time there."
Cooper said Wednesday's bullpen session produced the same reliable quality of work Quintana has always provided. Much of the focus surrounded location mistakes that have led to two big innings. Quintana has allowed 10 of 13 earned runs in two innings and three over the other 15 1/3 frames he has pitched.
"The mistakes are when he's going away, it comes back over the middle of the plate," Cooper said. "It's not hitting spots and its missing in poor spots. That was our focus.
"Again, I keep going back to he's had two poor innings that make everything blown out of proportion numbers-wise.
"He's got his work cut out for him. But he has always responded."
Quintana said he spent much of the session working on his curveball, changing speeds and hitting the corners with his fastball. His fastball command was largely absent through Saturday's loss at the Minnesota Twins. But Quintana thinks he's in a good spot to move past those early issues.
"Feel good, feel good," Quintana said. "I keep practicing my command and work on all of my strengths, never change. I'm turning the page on last time and focusing on Friday."