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Slow Hand Q: Cubs’ Jose Quintana shows promising changeup in spring debut

Jose Quintana (John Antonoff photo)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Cubs starter Jose Quintana faced just seven batters in two scoreless innings in his spring debut Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona, the most impressive part being how effective his changeup was as he used it in get-ahead counts — three times starting off batters and three more in 1-1 counts. “I felt good with how I threw the changeup today,” said Quintana, who has had the pitch for years but has lacked confidence in using it. “I need to use one more pitch. It’s hard to pitch with two pitches three times through the lineup. And I’ve got it, so I want to use it more.”

Strike force

Tyler Chatwood, who lost his rotation spot last year over historically bad control, pitched three scoreless innings without a walk, allowing just three hits and producing a 2-to-1 strike-to-ball ratio in a 45-pitch outing. “I tell you, man, we harness this stuff and it could be very helpful,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It is really high-end movement vs. righties and lefties.”

Late-inning arrivals

Carl Edwards Jr. made his spring debut a week into the schedule as Maddon backed up the start of spring games for his most heavily used relievers from a year ago. He needed just nine pitches to get through a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. Pedro Strop and Steve Cishek are scheduled to debut in the next few days.

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No spring chickens

In one turn through the rotation, the projected starters combined to allow just one earned run and five hits, with five strikeouts and five walks, in 9 innings. (Four of the walks and the run belong to Yu Darvish).

On deck

Brewers at Cubs, Mesa, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 9, 670-AM, Zach Davies vs. Jon Lester.

— Gordon Wittenmyer