Jose Quintana out ‘past July 1,’ cleared of cancer fears

New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler offered both upsetting and encouraging news about left-handed starting pitcher Jose Quintana on Tuesday. 

Per Mike Puma of the New York Post and Lou DiPietro of WFAN, Eppler confirmed that Quintana will be sidelined “past July 1” due to a stress fracture in his rib. Eppler added, though, that doctors discovered a lesion on the rib that fortunately was benign. 

“We received the original scan, which showed that he had a stress fracture on the fifth rib. When looking at the scan, our orthopedist saw something concerning — and there was a lesion on that rib,” Eppler told reporters. “We sent Jose to New York to get looked at by an orthopedic tumor specialist, who did scans and tests and a biopsy, and we were waiting a number of days, which is part of the reason there was a delay in discussing his status.” 

Quintana is scheduled to undergo bone graft surgery on Friday. There’s no definite timetable for when he’ll make his Mets debut, but Eppler understandably had other things on his mind on Tuesday. 

“This is a situation that could’ve turned into a bad place for him and his family, and we will always put that at the forefront of everything,” Eppler added during his comments. “I understand; I want to let our supporters know what’s going on with our athletes, but this took on a human element that’s bigger than baseball, and I’m thankful we’re at least here than at one of the other potential outcomes.” 

In total, Quintana went 6-7 with a 2.93 ERA across 32 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals last season. The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract worth $26 million to join the Mets in December and hoped to be part of a rotation that includes aces Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, along with Japanese star Kodai Senga.

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), fellow southpaw David Peterson is a candidate to fill in for Quintana until further notice. 

“Obviously it sucks to see one of your teammates go down with that, and I hope he gets back as quick as he can and healthy for the most part,” Peterson said Tuesday about Quintana. 

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