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Quintana wife’s health issue diverted Cubs plane to New Mexico

Jose Quintana. | File photo

LOS ANGELES — The Cubs flight from Washington to Los Angeles was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday morning because Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana’s wife, Michel, was experiencing a health issue.

Quintana was named as the Cubs’ starter Saturday morning, hours before the Cubs were scheduled to play the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS. Quintana’s wife’s condition was a factor in the Cubs delaying the announcement to name Quintana, who stayed with his wife for a while Friday in New Mexico, according to USA Today.

“It was nothing major,’’ Quintana’s agent, Melvin Roman, told USA Today. “She’s OK. It was just an irregular heartbeat. She is fine.’’

The Cubs did not acknowledge a heart issue was the cause — they said the issue was a panic attack. In any event, “Quintana had to go through some stuff but insisted that he felt great and he’s ready to roll,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday.

The plane was delayed more than five hours, in part because a new flight crew was needed before the team could proceed to Los Angeles.

“Everybody’s well right now,” Maddon said. “The right things were done. The players handled it great. The doctor handled it great. Everybody did the right thing.”

Maddon said the decision process about whether to start Quintana or John Lackey was “more about how [Quintana] felt.”

“Like, `How do you feel?’ Yes, his arm and ‘how do you feel.’ He felt fine. So we went with it.

“We have John Lackey in the wings also if necessary. So we’ve got plan B involved also.”

Jon Lester will start Game 2 on Sunday.

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer