White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana addresses the trade rumors yet again

White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana addresses the trade rumors yet again

NEW YORK — About the only thing Jose Quintana wasn't asked on Monday by the New York media is whether or not he's a fan of pinstripes.

Constantly mentioned in New York Yankees trade rumors this offseason, Quintana faced a barrage of questions before the start of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. The left-hander was asked by a throng of local media if he thought he'd be pitching for the Yankees, about the direction of the White Sox, and if he knew that Yankees fans wanted him back on the team. 

Addressing the topic generally the same way he has since January, Quintana said his slow start isn't a byproduct of distractions.  

"That happens, so now I have my mind on doing a better job to help my team," Quintana said. "I know I have a lot of responsibility, but I try not to put that on my shoulders. I don't want any pressure for me. I just do my thing and do a better job. That happens sometimes, and learned from the last two starts. I watched a couple of videos, and it was a couple of bad locations. "That's going to happen sometimes, so I just try to get better."

Quintana is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts. In reality, the left-hander has had two horrendous innings this season. He has allowed 10 earned runs in those two frames and three earned runs in the other 15 1/3. 

Those innings also came against teams Quintana has always struggled with, the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. Quintana said the performance isn't anything to do with distractions and he'll get back to work when he throws his next bullpen session Wednesday.

[BUY TICKETS: Get your White Sox seats here]

In the meantime, the former Yankees farmhand answered every question imaginable during a 10-minute session.

Yes, he heard the rumors. He has determined to treat them as rumors because he doesn't have any control over the decision. Were the decision his, Quintana would stay with the White Sox. He doesn't like to address the rumors and answers questions the same way every time. He does like the direction the White Sox are headed and all the new talent. Quintana's focus in on the White Sox. He likes hearing that another team's fans might be interested, but it's out of his control.

As he walked away from the session, Quintana smiled and said, "Oh, baby."

Jose Abreu hopes to be ready for White Sox next game after leaving with injury

Jose Abreu hopes to be ready for White Sox next game after leaving with injury

Jose Abreu said he hopes to be ready to go when the White Sox start their series against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

The White Sox first baseman took an awkward-looking fall on the infield grass while trying to field a grounder in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s win over the visiting Kansas City Royals, leaving the game with what the team announced as a mild right hip flexor strain. Abreu was labeled as day-to-day.

Manager Rick Renteria didn’t have any sort of update after the game — though he said he didn't think it was serious — but in his comments to reporters, Abreu said he felt fine after receiving treatment and will be ready to go for Friday’s series opener in Detroit.

“I feel good right now,” Abreu said. “I got treatment and I feel good. The day off tomorrow is going to help and I hope to be ready for the first game in Detroit.”

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Both Renteria and Abreu said the first baseman had no desire to exit Wednesday’s game but that Renteria was being appropriately cautious.

“He did not want to come out,” Renteria said. “He was pretty adamant but I think all of us, you don't take any chances. I think it was just the right thing to do at that time.”

“When you are on the field, you didn’t want to leave the field. It doesn’t matter what’s the reason or what’s happening,” Abreu said. “But he’s the boss and he made that decision and you have to accept it.”

Abreu went 2-for-2 with a two-out RBI double in the first inning Wednesday before he left. He has had two hits in each of his last four games and is 8-for-15 during the White Sox current four-game winning streak.

The White Sox are off Thursday. The team said Abreu will be reevaluated then after arriving in Detroit.

With White Sox hitters' support, Jose Quintana picks up first win of 2017

With White Sox hitters' support, Jose Quintana picks up first win of 2017

Four runs isn’t exactly an eye-popping total. But for Jose Quintana and his luck, it can seem like a gigantic number.

The White Sox starting pitcher is famously left wanting for run support nearly every time he takes the mound. So after the visiting Kansas City Royals erased a two-run White Sox advantage by the middle of the sixth inning Wednesday, it looked like Quintana might be heading for another bad-luck no decision — or worse.

But Avisail Garcia, he of the resurgent 2017 campaign, came to Quintana’s aid, belting a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to put the White Sox back in front. It put Quintana in position for his first win of the season, which he officially earned when things went final a few innings later.

“He hit the ball at the right time. It was a good time,” Quintana said after the 5-2 victory on the South Side. “He told me, ‘That’s for you.’”

Quintana’s own 2017 season hasn’t gotten off to the kind of start you’d expect from the 2016 All Star. He took a loss in each of his first four outings and didn’t pitch like his normal self, entering Wednesday’s game with a 6.17 ERA.

But Wednesday saw Quintana return to form. He struck out 10 batters, a season high and the eighth such effort he’s had in his career. He surrendered just a pair of runs, only one of which was earned.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Third baseman Todd Frazier said he saw something a little different in Quintana on Wednesday.

“I saw it in his face. He had some look about him,” Frazier said. “It was weird. He was getting mad at me because I didn’t get the ball back to him in time. I love that stuff. I’ll definitely make sure I get it to him quicker. He had a mentality about him, you know, put fear in some hitters eyes.”

Quintana, who kept saying that he “needed” this kind of performance in this game, confirmed it was an accurate assessment.

“Yeah, it was a mission,” Quintana said. “Everybody was doing their job. I needed this outing, so I felt really good on the mound. It was extra motivation to win my first one.

“I needed that outing, I needed that win. I never started like that (with four losses), so I’m really proud of the first win for me. The first of many, so I can’t wait to keep doing my job.”

While the pitcher was different this time around, so too was his offense. The White Sox are locked in some kind of offensive surge right now, combining for 33 runs during a four-game winning streak.

In Quintana’s first four starts, the team mustered just four total runs, shut out in two of those games. While certainly everyone would like the offensive production to continue, it was performances like Wednesday’s that remind you that even when the team isn’t scoring for him — and that’s been often — he still has All-Star stuff.

“As a teammate, you always enjoy when one of your pitchers is having that kind of performance that Quintana had today,” Leury Garcia said. “You’re always trying to help him, you’re always trying to do your best to help your teammates to win games. And for us, the defense was good just to stay there and watch him do his stuff. That was good.”