All it took was holding a wine glass a little too tight. Cubs southpaw José Quintana was washing dishes at his home in Miami, he said, when the glass burst and cut his left thumb.
In that moment, he went from being an influential member of the Cubs' starting rotation to not knowing when he’d get back on the mound.
“I’m lucky I can throw the ball,” Quintana said Tuesday, in his first video conference with local media since the accident.
Tuesday marked the sixth day of Quintana’s throwing program. He still has several days of long toss before he can progress to throwing off a mound again, according to Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. On Monday, Quintana said, he threw fastballs and changeups on flat ground.
“My thumb feels great,” he said. “No pain, mobility is good.”
He has not yet tried to throw a curveball, but based on the feedback he’s gotten so far, Quintana isn’t concerned that the curveball grip could give him issues. His main focus now is keeping the rest of his body healthy as he ramps up.
So far, all promising news. But the injury essentially wiped out all the work he’d done during the shutdown.
Quintana’s dishwashing accident happened on June 27, about a week before the Cubs’ first workout of summer training camp. He said he was scheduled to leave for Chicago the next day.
The day before, Quintana had thrown 50-55 pitches, he estimated, simulating four innings.
But instead of joining camp ramping up at about the same pace as Kyle Hendricks, Quintana was getting stitches on his pitching hand.
“It was tough,” he said. “A lot of frustration for me.”
At first he thought that was all he’d need to repair the injury, but he began to realize that he didn’t have normal feeling in his hand. A million scenarios ran through his mind.
On July 2, Quintana had microscopic surgery to identify the problem and repair the cut sensory nerve in his thumb. For two weeks after the surgery, Quintana wasn’t allowed to throw. He still kept up with lower body and shoulder workouts.
His recovery has remained on schedule.
“I’m back,” Quintana said with a combination of relief and determination.
Hottovy hopes Quintana will be able to throw off a mound in a seven to 10 days.