Adam Quintana, waiting for a call, can’t wait to get back into uniform.
The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher, once the property of the Texas Rangers, is part of Mexican League baseball hierarchy these days.
San Gorgonio High School’s one time pitching ace and cleanup hitter has bounced around everywhere ⎯ colleges, U.S. semi pro and minor leagues before landing with Moncava, Acereros Del Norte last season.
Not only did Acereros claim the championship ⎯ a Triple-A level league ⎯ but Quintana also made Mexico’s Olympic team.
Everything grinded down to a halt for Quintana, for everyone.
Here are the problems:
“I can’t find anyone to play catch with me right now,” he said.
“Working out is a problem. I can't find any gyms that are open. Right now, though, I think I might’ve found one.”
“They’re saying ‘yes’ [to playing a Mexican League season], but they’re going back and forth with it.”
Chances are, he said, that starting date would be Sept. 1, kicking off a 1-month spring training session.
Yes, he said, “I’m throwing a little bit.”
Quintana finished 8-4 (tied for the team lead) with Acereros Del Norte in helping lead his Moncava team to last year’s first-ever Mexican League championship.
Monclava is in the state of Cahuilla.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder was a huge part of lineups at San Gorgonio, San Bernardino Valley, Concordia College-Irvine and, finally, Peru (Neb.) State where he was Heartland Conference of America Player of the Year.
By 2016, he was spotted playing semi pro ball in Nebraska by MLB scouts. It was the Rangers who signed him.
Fast forward to this past March, which is when Acereros lined up at spring training before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. This season, said Quintana regarding COVID-19, “is do-able.”
Bartolo Colon, who was the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner, inked a contract with Acereros in February.
“He’s still with us,” said Quintana, noting that part of Colon’s work routine “is to throw bullpens with his eyes closed.
“I’d need 25 years in the major league to be able to do that.”
Colon, Quintana says, “is very quiet. He’s very nice.”
LMB (La Liga Mexicana de Beisbol) adopted The Diamond Plan, a constantly updated program for public events dictated by international and national organizations and health authorities at all levels. It’s based on guidelines from other sports leagues worldwide, as well as health prevention guidelines from different institutions.
“I’m waiting for a call,” Quintana said, living in Riverside. “They’re keeping everyone in the dark. I don't know what [the league’s] plans are right now.”
Quintana, who got a raise off a $6,000-a-month salary from last season, is part of an Acereros roster that includes past major leaguers Al Albuquerque, Erick Aybar, Francisco Peguero, Ryan Kelly, plus notables like Colon, Rajai Davis and Chris Carter.
There is no player’s union and a 16-team Mexican League is headed by President Horacio de la Vega.
Word is that teams will play 48-game schedules. In May, however, a schedule was released that was set to start on Aug. 7 but conclude in October. The King’s Series was announced for early November.
A dozen of those 16 teams would participate in postseason. All of that has been wiped away.
Upon signing his U.S. pro contract, Quintana was sent to the Rangers’ Arizona Rookie League before landing in such places as the Hickory Crawdads, Frisco RoughRiders, High Desert Mavericks in nearby Adelanto ⎯ his final spot in USA pro ball. He was released on July 1, 2016.
He tried Independent League ball ⎯ Lake Erie and Gary ⎯ for a while.
Mexican baseball “is better than here,” said Quintana who, like everyone, operates on a one-year contract.
“We only got $1,200 a month in the minor leagues,” he said, “and less than that in Independent ball.Adam Quintana: Waiting for call to start Mexican League season