CHICAGO -- Every time he's asked about his surgically repaired right wrist, Carlos Quentin holds it up in the air and has this response: "It's great," he says.
Quentin's first season with the Chicago White Sox, one that saw him blossom into a surprising star with 36 homers and 100 RBIs, ended suddenly after a fit of frustration with a month to go.
Quentin was leading the AL in homers on Sept. 1 when fouled off a pitch from Cliff Lee, then slapped his bat with his right hand while holding it with the left.
He ended up with a broken bone that needed surgery and a screw was inserted. He worked hard at rehab and said he might have been able to play if the AL Central champs hadn't lost in the first round of the playoffs to Tampa Bay.
"You learn from everything, from every situation you experience. I think what I learned is something that unfortunately happened. I felt like in the past I would have beaten myself up a little more. I think I just did a good of staying positive and hoped I could still get in there," Quentin said.
"Obviously I didn't want to do that. I play with passion and I don't think I'm going to change the way I play," he said. "[But] you never want to not be on the field when your team is competing."
Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the offseason a year ago, Quentin had to fight for a roster spot last spring. Now he's being counted on to be an integral part of the team after batting .288 and giving the White Sox a solid No. 3 hitter.
"I don't want people in Chicago all of a sudden, 'Carlos has got to start hot right away," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Friday night at the team's winter fan convention.
"He's capable of doing it. I don't want Carlos to feel -- I don't say pressure -- feel like he's got to carry this ball club. Carlos Quentin has got to play his game and help the rest of his teammates."
Quentin, who was hit by pitches 20 times last season, said he's anxious for spring training to start so he can get back on the field again with his teammates.
"I've been hitting since the beginning of December on a regular basis. One-hand drills, live pitching. It felt great," he added.
Quentin had been on the provisional roster for the USA in the World Baseball Classic, but after talking with general manager Ken Williams, they both agreed that it would be best for the outfielder's health to pass on the opportunity, one that Quentin called an honor.
: Veteran RF Jermaine Dye said he's not been distracted by all the offseason rumors and speculation that he would be traded. "I mean, anytime your contract is coming up to the end, you're talked about in all kinds of trades, moving here and moving there," Dye said. "It's part of what we do and part of the business. You learn to listen to it, read about it and move on with it. It's all rumors until you get that phone call and you are told you are done. As always, I'm prepared to be with the White Sox." ... Guillen said he doesn't know yet who will be his leadoff hitter since Orlando Cabrera was not re-signed. And he said one of his biggest "ifs" headed into spring training is depth at third base, where Josh Fields is slated to take over for Joe Crede, who also was not re-signed.