White Sox’ Jose Quintana won’t be tongue-tied as he learns English
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 19, 2014 7:05PM
Updated: February 20, 2014 2:34AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Speaking English is important to Jose Quintana, and it shows. He’s learning with a self-study program, and it’s coming along well enough that he gave an interview in English on Wednesday without an interpreter.
‘‘Yes, it’s important because this is my work,’’ the White Sox left-hander said. ‘‘I need to speak in English for media, coaches, everything. And I like the English. I like talking to the other guys.’’
Entering his third season with the Sox, the 25-year-old Quintana, who is Colombian, has used one of the Sox’ translators — usually coach Lino Diaz — to converse with English-speaking media. During the offseason, he practiced with his brother in Colombia.
‘‘It’s getting better,’’ he said.
Some Spanish-speaking players hesitate to attempt English for fear they’ll be misunderstood. Others don’t want to look bad, they say. Cubans Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez prefer to use an interpreter; Alejandro De Aza and Avisail Garcia do not. Cuban Jose Abreu is using one, but said he is working daily to command English.
If Quintana follows his 2013 season with something as good this year, Sox fans won’t care if he doesn’t speak at all. He pitched to a 3.51 ERA over a team-high 33 starts covering 200 innings last season, a year after breaking into the majors and into the rotation with a 3.76 ERA over 22 starts and 136 1/3 innings. His ERA last year ranked fifth among American League lefties, and his 9-7 record was uneventful because of an AL-record 17 no-decisions. His run support, fifth-worst of any pitcher in the AL at 3.78 per game, was an issue.
‘‘A lot of games were close, but that’s the game,’’ Quintana said. “This year will be better for me, I hope, as far as wins. I want to help the team win.’’