We heard yesterday from Padres sources that Carlos Quentin would undergo arthroscopic knee surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The problem originated a few days ago in spring training. The Padres tried to ease him along, but he re-aggravated it sliding into second base. After visiting with the training staff, the Padres and Quentin decided now would be the best time to take care of the problem, in attempt to “not compromise a significant chunk of the season.”
Typically, the recovery is around four to six weeks, but the right-handed slugger seemed confident he would only miss a couple of weeks according to Padres broadcaster Andy Masur.
Suffice it to say, that’s not an ideal way to start his tenure with the Friars, especially with his injury history. Having said that, it’s possible to see him back in mid-to-late April.
Now, that begs the question: Who will the Padres use in Quentin’s place? The Padres have outfielder/first-baseman Kyle Blanks, whom they were high on before the Quentin trade as a potential starter in left field. They also have Jesus Guzman who has played the outfield a lot in the offseason and the Venezuelan League. They have Chris Denorfia (who has yet to play in a spring game), who is the most proven MLB player out of the bunch. The Padres have given James Darnell some time in the outfield, but recently prioritized him back to his natural position, third base. They also have Matt Clark, who has flourished the spring, and Jaff Decker, who has led the Padres in extra-base hits and RBIs thus far in spring but struggled last year in double-A. Also, it’s inconceivable to imagine the Padres starting his clock or adding him to the 40-man roster for a few weeks without Carlos Quentin.
The obvious choice is Blanks. It would be unimaginable to think the Padres would bump someone on the 40-man if the recovery time is said to be up to a few weeks, possibly sooner. Guzman, who has been primarily a third baseman in his pro career, will most likely get time in left field, along with Denorfia, barring health issues. However, the Padres still need a right-handed-hitting complement to Yonder Alonso, so Blanks in my opinion is a lock to break camp. Also, the Padres will use Denorfia against tough lefties to spell Will Venable.
The Padres need a run producer to replace Quentin, and there have been arguments within the blogosphere, even before Quentin going down, to “Free Kyle Blanks.” The Padres and Bud Black will likely take a “managers choice” approach to the situation and mix up many line-up cards given the match-up scenarios.