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Quintana helps opening-day chances with solid start for White Sox in 5-2 loss to Rockies

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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Jose Quintana helped his chances to start on opening day for the Chicago White Sox, allowing only an infield hit and getting eight outs in a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday.

Chicago manager Robin Ventura announced this week that ace Chris Sale won't recover from a broken right foot in time to start April 6 in Kansas City. That leaves Quintana and Jeff Samardzija competing for the ball in the opener.

"I think every pitcher wants to throw opening day," Quintana said. "If the team does that, you know they think of you as a No. 1 pitcher. But I just want to help the team."

Working on three days' rest in his third spring start, Quintana struck out Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau and Drew Stubbs and didn't allow a ball out of the infield. The left-hander threw 31 of 45 pitches for strikes.

Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek gave up an infield hit and a walk, and struck out three in three scoreless innings.

Morneau and Stubbs drove in runs on consecutive singles against Javy Guerra. Daniel Webb later gave up three runs and three hits

Top Colorado prospect Jon Gray worked around a leadoff triple to Jose Abreu in the fourth to throw two more scoreless innings. Gray, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, hasn't allowed a run in six innings in his second big league camp.

"I was so nervous last year," Gray said. "It's a completely different feeling this year. I feel like I actually belong."

STARTING TIME

White Sox: The 26-year-old Quintana went 9-11 with a 4.50 ERA last season. He has impressed despite not getting much offensive support since he was called up in 2012.

"I think with three more starts I'll be ready to go with all my stuff," Quintana said. "I'm excited with how I threw today."

Samardzija, who has started for the Cubs on opening day the last two years, is scheduled to throw to minor leaguers on Saturday.

Rockies: Matzek threw 25 of 38 pitches for strikes, a significant improvement over his last start, when he threw just 18 of 42 for strikes.

"Everything was clicking," Matzek said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: Ventura has juggled his rotation since the Sale news, moving up Quintana to pitch on short rest and having Samardzija throw on Saturday.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (groin) had an effective bullpen session Thursday, manager Walt Weiss said. The Rockies hope De La Rosa can make his twice-delayed spring debut next week. ... Weiss indicated OF Roger Bernadina (wrist) is still 3-to-5 days away from returning.

RACE TO THE PARK

Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez acknowledged that for much of his career he has been the "last guy" to arrive at camp each day.

That has changed. At Tulowitzki's urging, Gonzalez has a renewed focus on health and fitness.

"I think it's difficult to beat Tulo in the morning. He's always the first one here," Gonzalez said. "But it feels good to be the second."

Gonzalez indicated it would take drastic measures to beat Tulowitzki to the park.

"I show up at 6 in the morning, and the guy is already here," Gonzalez said. "I guess I'm going to have to bring a blanket and sleep on the (clubhouse) couch."

MMA & BASEBALL

Weiss had a wide grin after a morning meeting that lasted nearly 90 minutes. The reason: mixed martial arts great Georges St-Pierre addressed his players.

"It was pretty amazing," Weiss said. "It's a great day."

Weiss grew up participating in traditional martial arts, including taekwondo. It was toward the end of his playing career when MMA and UFC started to get big.

"Probably the whole second half of my career, I used it to train," Weiss said. "When I got done playing, I trained quite a bit."

Weiss said St-Pierre's message focused on how a strong mind-set can create a competitive edge.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Brad Penny starts Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles starts against Cincinnati on Saturday.

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