Jose Quintana will have at least one more minor-league rehab start before making his Mets debut sometime after the All-Star break, manager Buck Showalter announced on Sunday.
“I’m close,” Quintana, who suffered a stress fracture in a rib during spring training and underwent surgery to repair it, said on Sunday. “I’m real close.”
Quintana was scheduled to throw five innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Friday in what even team owner Steve Cohen said was supposed to be his last minor-league outing. But ineffectiveness and wildness (two runs, four hits, three walks) limited Quintana to 2 2⁄3 innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.
Showalter said the Mets have a “tentative plan” for when and where Quintana will pitch next but aren’t ready to reveal that information.
“He’s definitely going to make another start down below,” Showalter said. “We’re trying to get a lot of people to look at it and sign off because there’s things to think about during the All-Star break and post All-Star break . . . But he feels good physically. That’s the great news.”
The Mets signed Quintana to a two-year, $26 million contract in the offseason.
Struggling rightfielder Starling Marte was in the lineup in the sixth spot on Sunday night after a two-day break. Red-hot Tommy Pham was moved up to second.
Showalter was asked if he thinks giving a player a break is a good strategy.
“Not always,” he said. “Otherwise, we’d be doing it all the time. Stamping it, like, ‘this is what you do for that problem. Let’s put this program in for hitting a slider with two strikes. Let’s put this in for high fastballs.’ I wish it was that simple.
“Everybody’s got these models that are great, but they don’t always play in real life. So we’ll see.”