Talking baseball while hoping the Bulls can find some instant offense in the draft:
1. The White Sox arrive in New York with the Yankees reeling from the kind of day every big league team dreads. They put CC Sabathia on the disabled list because of a tight groin Wednesday morning, then lost Andy Pettitte to a broken ankle in the afternoon.
On Friday, the Yankees will get their first look at left-hander Jose Quintana, whom the White Sox plucked off their high Class-A roster when Brian Cashman decided not to add him to his 40-man roster. Imagine the reaction if Quintana continues to pitch as well as he has this season, going 2-1 with a 1.46
ERA in six games.
"We looked at him as a fringy prospect,'' Cashman told the New York Post. "We offered him a minor league contract to stay, but not a 40-man roster position. We didn't feel he was ahead of other guys we gave spots to. It was a numbers game, but right now it does not look like a good decision."
Quintana, 23, is a huge success story for the White Sox's scouts and front office, especially assistant general manager Rick Hahn and director of baseball operations Dan Fabian.
Knowing that the organization lacked pitching depth, general manager Ken Williams order his lieutenants to try to find left-handers who might be able to contribute in 2012, even as starters. They zeroed in on Quintana as one of the best available guys, acting off information they were given by Daraka Shaheed, one of their pro scouts, and Joe Siers, an amateur scout based outside Tampa, Fla., who adds the Tampa Yankees to his responsibilities after the draft.
"The Yankees have had a lot of talent over the years, period,'' Shaheed said. "We'd love to be in that position.''
While Hahn credits Shaheed and Siers for spotting Quintana's upside, Shaheed points out that it was Hahn and Fabian who were asking the right questions.
"I only saw him in relief a couple of times,'' Shaheed said. "Rick and Dan were the ones who asked if he could start. That's a lot of vision and creativity on their part. They really thought outside the box looking at a guy in high-A, who was relieving.''
For Shaheed, the thing that stood out about Quintana was his solid delivery -- a strength that pitching coach Don Cooper says has helped Quintana be a quick learner.
"His shoulders are always square to the plate,'' Shaheed said. "The tools are nice. And watch his face when he pitches. It's always a battle for him. He's intense. But I didn't envision this.''
Siers says the same thing. He got a longer look at Quintana, seeing him in one of the 12 starts he made for the Tampa Yankees last year, and fell in love with him. But he didn't have the imagination to see him going from there to here, not this quickly.
"I was kind of surprised the Yankees didn't (protect him),'' Siers said. "Obviously, they felt they had more guys. But did I think he was going to do this? How could you see he'd go to the big leagues and pitch like this, have this type of success? Hopefully, it will keep up. I think it will. He has everything you need.''
Both Siers and Shaheed saw a low-90s fastball, a slider and a cut fastball that were plus pitches. But more than the pitches themselves was how he used them.
"His feel for pitching, for me, was just advanced, especially in A ball,'' Siers said. "He wasn't afraid to live on the inside half (of the plate). You don't see that at that level. And I felt he was doing it on purpose. Sometimes guys cut the ball every once in awhile, as an accident. Jose was doing it with a purpose. ... And his poise? That's hard to find with left-handed pitchers, especially young left-handers.''
Quintana actually began his career with the Mets in 2006, signing as a 17-year-old out of Colombia. He was suspended for using a banned substance in '07, and immediately released when the suspension ended. The Yankees signed him and developed him slowly, with him going 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA last season for Tampa.
They tried to re-sign him to a minor league contract but his agent, Melvin Roman, indicated he was going to look elsewhere if he wasn't added to the 40-man roster. That's where the White Sox stepped in, thanks to the work of Siers and Shaheed.
2. The All-Star teams will be announced Sunday. I took my first run at projecting them Wednesday, and there’s a chance that the White Sox could get four players -- Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko -- while the Cubs are one of those that might not have any All-Stars if not for the rule that every team gets one. Unless Starlin Castro or Ryan Dempster are elected by players, Tony La Russa will have to choose between Castro, Dempster (if he’s cleared to play) and perhaps Alfonso Soriano, who wouldn’t be a terrible fit with the DH rule in effect in Kansas City. Pierzynski and Konerko have been the best all-around players at their positions in the AL. But both could be squeezed off -- Pierzynski, if the .321-hitting Joe Mauer goes alongside Matt Wieters; and Konerko, if Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira make it based on their reputations.
3. Keep on eye on Josh Vitters. While Luis Valbuena has been a nice fill-in for third baseman Ian Stewart with the Cubs, Vitters may have turned a corner. The 2007 first-round pick is hitting .327 with a .965 OPS in June, and has raised his season totals to .293 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs. He could potentially give the Cubs another dangerous bat against left-handed pitchers (season totals against them: .318, with a .982 OPS), although you hear the Cubs are still concerned about his strikeouts and his fielding. The guess here is he’d already have gotten to the big leagues if Jim Hendry was still in charge. He should be here soon despite the regime change, although it’s possible that Theo Epstein will use him as a chip in a midseason trade if he doesn’t like the way he projects.
Twitter @ ChiTribRogers