Cubs starter Jose Quintana out after slicing thumb while washing dishes

The lefty is expected to resume his throwing program in about two weeks. Word on the expected length of his absence will come then, but the Cubs clearly will need to ramp up another starter — do they even have one? — in the meantime.

SHARE Cubs starter Jose Quintana out after slicing thumb while washing dishes
Cubs starter Jose Quintana’s season is in doubt.

Cubs starter Jose Quintana’s season is in doubt.

Justin Berl/Getty Images

Well, that’s one way to begin preparations for the Cubs’ season.

Seriously, Jose Quintana did what?

Starting pitcher Quintana won’t be in action when the Cubs open camp workouts Friday at Wrigley Field. He almost certainly won’t be able to take the ball in the first turn through the rotation once games start. And there’s a good chance he’ll miss multiple starts in 2020, possibly a significant chunk of the 12 he would’ve had in a 60-game regular season under the very best of circumstances.

Why? It’s just so Cub: The lefty injured the thumb on his pitching hand last weekend by — are you ready for this? — washing dishes at home in Miami.

According to the Cubs, Quintana, 31, cut his thumb and needed five stitches. He saw a hand specialist in Miami, who then consulted with Cubs doctors. After traveling to Chicago, Quintana underwent microscopic surgery on the thumb Thursday and was revealed to have sliced into a digital sensory nerve. The nerve was repaired in surgery.

Quintana is expected to resume his throwing program in about two weeks, or one week before the start of the season. Word on the expected length of his absence will come then, but the Cubs clearly will need to ramp up another starter — do they even have one? — in the meantime.

“We had some concerns about our starting depth, and a freak injury further challenges us in that area,” president Theo Epstein said. “We have to respond.”

Was it a knife? A broken glass? A bird? A plane? Call it Plategate or the Palmolive Incident if you like. And call Quintana the latest in a long line of Cubs to injure himself in ridiculous fashion.

In 1974, Jose Cardenal hurt himself while sleeping. In 1985, Steve Trout fell off a stationary bike. A 1992 cartwheel did Mike Harkey in. Sammy Sosa sneezed in 2004. Mike Remlinger took an ‘L’ from a pair of clubhouse chairs in 2005. Kerry Wood met the business end of a hot tub in 2007. In 2018, Brandon Morrow took off his pants and the rest was painful history.

That’s not a complete list, either. And, please note, nowhere did we use the word “claimed,” though we probably should have.

But set all that aside, because the Cubs’ pitching concerns suddenly are acute. Quintana’s injury — the sort of thing former manager Lou Piniella called a “Cubbie occurrence” — isn’t cute at all, certainly not when looking at a little more than one-third of a typical 162-game schedule.

If Tyler Chatwood — who has struggled mightily since Epstein brought him in as a free agent before the 2018 season — wasn’t already a lock for a starting role, he must be one now. No longer is Cole Hamels around to go with Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. And for as long as Quintana is out, the whole alternating righty-lefty thing the team had going last year is completely shot.

Alec Mills, Colin Rea and Adbert Alzolay — all right-handers — are the names Epstein mentioned in connection with a rotation that now has at least one temporary vacancy.

“There’s some uncertainty right now surrounding this timetable,” Epstein said. “So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Before Quintana’s injury, there wasn’t much — or any — perceived separation between the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers and Reds among the usual division opponents. Lump the Indians and White Sox in there, too, with all of the above perhaps a step or two behind the Twins. Those are the opponents the Cubs will face all season, whether they have Quintana or not.

Without him, the Cubs might have more trouble on their hands than they can handle.

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