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Quintana arrives with Cubs in Baltimore

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

BALTIMORE -- When Joe Maddon met on Friday with his newest starter, Jose Quintana, the manager encouraged the left-hander to be himself and pointed out that the Cubs don't have many rules. Maddon also told Quintana this was a great opportunity to have an impact on the Cubs in the second half.

"When you say that, some guys give you the wrong look," Maddon said. "He was very good with that thought and very comfortable with that thought. You're always concerned about who accepts pressure, and I thought he accepted it really well."

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BALTIMORE -- When Joe Maddon met on Friday with his newest starter, Jose Quintana, the manager encouraged the left-hander to be himself and pointed out that the Cubs don't have many rules. Maddon also told Quintana this was a great opportunity to have an impact on the Cubs in the second half.

"When you say that, some guys give you the wrong look," Maddon said. "He was very good with that thought and very comfortable with that thought. You're always concerned about who accepts pressure, and I thought he accepted it really well."

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Acquired Thursday from the White Sox for four Minor Leaguers, Quintana joined the Cubs on Friday, threw a bullpen and said he was excited and relieved to be with the team.

"It's over and that's good," Quintana said of the trade rumors. "It's a fresh start. I just want to do my job and make the playoffs. I've never been to the playoffs and I have a good chance here."

The lefty will start Sunday against the Orioles and will be the third pitcher to make starts for both the Cubs and White Sox in the same season, joining Bob Miller (1970) and Steve Renko (1977). Quintana called it a perfect trade because he didn't have to move -- he'll just be driving north from his downtown Chicago apartment to Wrigley Field, and not south.

Quintana was 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 18 starts with the White Sox, averaging better than a strikeout per inning for the first time in his career (109 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings pitched). He is on pace for his fifth consecutive 32-plus start, 200-plus inning season in his career.

• Cubs pay fair price for elite Quintana

The Cubs like all of those qualities and also feel the addition of Quintana can inject some energy into the team, which has been playing .500 baseball most of the year.

"It should show everybody in this clubhouse what they think of this team and what we're capable of," outfielder Jason Heyward said.

Maddon was at dinner with his wife Jaye on Wednesday night, enjoying an abbreviated All-Star break after having to manage the National League team in Miami.

"I've always liked [Quintana's] body of work," Maddon said. "To plug him in there with the rest of our guys could be exactly what we're looking for in the second half. ... He's almost like the perfect acquisition now."

The Cubs rotation ended the first half with a 4.66 ERA, which ranked 16th in the Majors. Last year, they had the best ERA among starting pitching at 3.09.

"I'm so excited to be with this team," Quintana said. "I just want to help this team and do my job."

The Cubs began the second half 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central Division. They've got some work to do.

"The trade should be read as a vote of faith in this group," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "Not only can this be a winning group, it is a winning group. These guys just won a World Series and our goal is to win more World Series with this team."

Quintana arrived in Baltimore on Friday morning and was recognized by some Cubs fans at the baggage carousel at the airport, where he posed for photos. A few teased him because his gear was in a White Sox bag.

"I have to get a new one," Quintana said, smiling.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jose Quintana