CHICAGO -- Inside the visitor's locker room at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time, Carlos Quentin looked around and tried to get his bearings.
“Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been back here, since the trade and to see my former teammates Paulie (Paul Konerko), Gordon (Beckham), Adam (Dunn), Johnny (John Danks) who is throwing tonight, I just found that out,” Quentin said. “There are a lot of good people there. The training staff and everything.”
Ah yes, the training staff. Quentin has dealt with myriad injuries over his career first with the White Sox and now with the Padres. A recent groin issue has reduced him to designated-hitter duties in the current series, according to Padres manager Bud Black.
Quentin has always been sort of a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Did hard play contribute to his injury issues, or is his injury-probe body vulnerable to his style of play?
“You make adjustments,” Quentin said. “I’m having to adjust to that. When I played here my entire career I took pride in playing the game as hard as I could , the right way. Right now I have to make sure I keep my body healthy to be in the lineup and contribute for the good of my team. It’s an adjustment to make.”
Quentin might be a California native, who has played for two National League West teams in his career (the Arizona Diamondbacks is the other), but his time in Chicago has made a huge impact on him.
He burst upon the scene in 2008 to earn an All-Star Game nod and finish fifth in the MVP voting, but didn’t play more than 118 games in two of the next three seasons. When healthy, he rode massively productive hot streaks and some extended cold snaps to solid production numbers like 107 home runs and 320 RBIs in a White sox uniform.
“I was able to establish myself here,” Quentin said. “When I came here we had great players like Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, a whole veteran team. Basically the whole team that won the World Series was here so it was a crucial point of my career to see how those guys conducted their business and helped me to become the player I am.”