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South Side Spring Training 4: Appreciating Jose Quintana While He’s Still Here

1. Jose Quintana threw for the final time this spring on Tuesday, tossing 48 pitches against Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguers. The next time he throws the ball in a competitive setting will be Monday at U.S. Cellular Field against the Detroit Tigers in the White Sox season opener.

It’s going to be easy to get wrapped up in the trade rumors that will only get louder once the season is in full swing. Bob Nightengale’s report Tuesday that the Astros have not budged in their offer is the latest but certainly not the last we’ll hear on the subject. But while trading Quintana for prospects is a necessary evil to accelerate the White Sox rebuild in similar fashion to the winter’s deals that sent away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, getting the opportunity to watch him throw every fifth day for the next week or two weeks or month or year isn’t something to be taken for granted.

Quintana is one of the top five pitchers in the American League, and assuming he continues to perform at that level, has a chance to enter unfamiliar territory as the spotlight will be set directly on him every time he takes the mound.

I don’t know how long Quintana will be with the White Sox, but I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it for as long as it lasts.

2. The Opening Day roster continues to take shape, with the latest moves following Tuesday’s trade of Peter Bourjos being the release of Cory Luebke and Matt Purke from major league camp, leaving the roster at 34.

Both Luebke and Purke were candidates for one of the two remaining bullpen spots, and the demotion of Luebke, specifically, means the White Sox are likely to break camp with only one left-hander in the bullpen — Dan Jennings.

It seems increasingly likely that the final two bullpen spots will go to non-roster invitee Anthony Swarzak and Rule 5 draft pick Dylan Covey. This makes sense particularly given the uncertainty of Carlos Rodon’s health, as either could be in line for a spot start or two with Rodon likely starting the season on the disabled list.  Swarzak is a nondescript journeyman, although he has evidently seen his velocity spike this spring, averaging 95.75 mph on his four-seam fastball this March, which would represent the hardest-throwing month of his career.

3. Speaking of Rodon, while he’s still likely to start the season on the DL, the White Sox received good news on Tuesday as an MRI revealed no structural damage and he was diagnosed with bursitis in his left bicep.

4. While the roster dwindles down to 25, the spotlight fades from many of the top prospects who are no longer in major league camp. James Fegan wrote a piece for the Athletic about the different progressions seen in the likes of Reynaldo Lopez, Carlos Fulmer, and Lucas Giolito during camp. It’s worth your time.

Lead Photo Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

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