Jose Quintana is reportedly ready to return to the Chicago Cubs, but his manager, general manager and team president aren't quite sure what role he'll return to, Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation wrote on Sunday.
Quintana injured his thumb on the eve of summer camp. A deep cut to his thumb, apparently suffered while doing dishes, eventually required surgery. He's been on the injured list ever since.
On Friday, Quintana went through what is said to be the final step of his recovery. He threw a bullpen session that Cubs manager David Ross told MLB went well enough to convince the club the pitcher is ready to make his 2020 regular-season debut.
Quintana could get the start this coming Tuesday, against the Detroit Tigers. He's also apparently being considered as an addition to a much-maligned bullpen.
The upcoming schedule is said to be factored into the decision. The team has a doubleheader on August 29 and a day off on August 27.
The way the week works out could allow the club to coordinate their rotation so that they can have two starting pitchers set to go in the doubleheader. Normally, it would be a starter and then a "bullpen day" where a reliever would pitch the first few innings, and then other relievers would take over.
Taylor said there are other factors that are being entered into the calculus when it comes to what to do with Quintana. Chief among those other factors is the status of Tyler Chatwood.
Chatwood threw on Saturday as a way to test his ailing back. Early reports from that session are that he's about ready to come off the IL himself. If he is activated, it would seem as though he would be a candidate for the Tuesday start as well.
The analyst said Adbert Alzolay is likely playing into Chicago's front office also being torn on how to use Quintana. Alzolay was called up last week to pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals, who -- because of coronavirus outbreak-related postponements -- were in town for five games in three days.
The second-year player drew rave reviews for his appearance, and some around the team believe he's earned a chance to stay in the Big Leagues.
When it comes to converting Quintana to a reliever, one factor is that the pitcher hasn't been in that position much over the course of his career. Since being promoted to the Bigs in 2012, he's appeared in just four contests out of the 'pen.