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Jose Quintana is super-sharp in 38-pitch stint against Reds

Sox lefty Jose Quintanretired all nine Reds batters he faced Saturday. | Mark Duncan~AP

Sox lefty Jose Quintana retired all nine Reds batters he faced Saturday. | Mark Duncan~AP

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Updated: April 4, 2013 6:59AM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has three goals for 2013: Be stronger, use both sides of the plate and master the changeup.

Being perfect is a little out of the question, but that’s what he was with a nine-Reds-up, nine-Reds-down Cactus League debut Saturday.

The second-year left-hander struck out two and was so efficient with 38 pitches that he went to the bullpen to throw 15 more after his outing.

Quintana went 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA in the first half of his rookie year, but he tired down the stretch.

“I never had a long season like that,’’ he said. “My arm felt good, but I don’t know if it necessarily was good.’’

Quintana bailed out the Sox’ rotation after John Danks went on the disabled list, going 6-6 with a 3.76 ERA. Even though he pitched a combined 185 innings between Class AA Birmingham and the Sox, 83 more than his previous high, there’s no blaming that on his 6.75 ERA after Sept. 1. ­Pitching coach Don Cooper won’t place it all on that, either.

Quintana was effective throwing down and inside to right-handed hitters with his cutter and slider, “but we didn’t use much away,’’ Cooper said.

“He hit his high-water mark [for innings] at the major-league level, that and pitching to one side of the plate all the time, everybody in the world knows that’s what’s going on, so we’re looking to open up the whole plate for him.’’

Quintana’s focus in camp is his two-seam fastball and changeup.

“We’re always working on the command of his fastball and all his pitches, but last year was basically fastball, cutter, slider, so we’re trying to improve the other side of the plate with righties down and away with the two-seam and changeups and backdoor stuff [to the outside corner] with cutters,’’ Cooper said.

Danks eager

Danks said he continues to feel good and can’t wait to pitch in a game for the first time since last May when he faces the Giants on Monday.

“It’s fun to get in a game situation, just being excited trying to compete and to get outs rather than arm slot and what the ball is doing,’’ Danks said after his Saturday ­morning side session.

Danks still is getting a feel for the location and movement of his pitches. His velocity probably will be down slightly Monday, which can be expected at least for a while.

“There might be some learning trying to learn how to pitch with a little less on the fastball, at least early, but I anticipate it coming back to normal eventually,’’ Danks said.

“I feel healthy; now it’s ­getting the ball to do what I want it to do.’’

This and that

Alex Rios leaves for Puerto Rico to play in the World Baseball Classic with five hits in 11 at-bats, including two doubles and a triple. Jesse Crain (Canada), Alejandro De Aza (Dominican Republic) and Andre Rienzo (Brazil) also are participating.

◆ Nate Jones, who pitched a scoreless inning after becoming a father last week, said his brief paternity won’t affect his schedule.

◆ Alexei Ramirez still is tending to a family matter in Miami and might not return for a couple days, manager Robin Ventura said.

WHITE SOX 4, REDS 0

FOR THE RECORD: The White Sox improved to 4-2-2 as Jose Quintana pitched three perfect innings in his first start, Hector Santiago tossed two scoreless and Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Jhan Marinez contributed to the combined shutout. “Quintana goes out and looks great, looks fresh,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s committed to being a big-leaguer for a long time, and he comes in with that ­attitude that he belongs. When he’s out there, you think he’s been around for a while.’’

MORE FROM GILLASPIE: Left-handed-hitting third baseman Conor Gillaspie was given a look at first base, but he showed more of the same at the plate, ­hitting his second homer of the spring. He also grounded out and struck out. “He’s a very aggressive kid at the plate who plays hard,’’ Ventura said.

THAT’S JARED: Former first-round pick Jared Mitchell hit a long opposite-field homer to left and doubled in a run. The double was a soft liner to center that skipped past a diving Chris Heisey.

MOREL OF THE SAME: Third baseman Brent Morel, who could make the team as a utility player if he shows some versatility in the field, looked comfortable handling two chances at shortstop. He went 0-for-3 at the plate. Ventura said Morel will get more time there this spring. “It’s kind of a work in progress there at short,’’ Ventura said.

ON DECK: Jake Peavy pitches against Clayton Richard in a matchup of pitchers traded for each other when the Sox visit the Padres at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. Addison Reed, Matt Lindstrom, Nestor Molina and Deunte Heath also are ­scheduled to pitch.



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