Up until a few days ago, the Padres needed Quentin’s bat in the lineup. They had the worst run production in the league, but an offensive outburst against the Miami Marlins this past weekend led to a three-game winning streak, and a much happier pitching staff.
The recent surge in offensive production should bode well for Quentin. He does not need to be rushed back, and once he gets into the lineup, he won’t be pushed because Seth Smith, the current left fielder, is batting .330 with three home runs and 14 RBI.
Bud Black will have several options in the outfield when Quentin returns. It will be challenging to find the correct balance between playing and resting for the six outfielders: Quentin, Smith, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, and Alexi Amarista. Both Denorfia (.300, 1 HR, 12 RBI) and Seth Smith are playing great, but Carlos Quentin and Will Venable have the potential to provide a lot more power in the lineup. Cameron Maybin is hitting the ball well (.341 average in 12 games), and deserves time to develop after coming off the disabled list. Alexi can play in the infield, so his versatility will get him ABs moving forward.
The Padres are three games under .500, and 6.5 games behind the first place San Francisco Giants, so striking the right balance with the outfield lineup will be necessary to compete in the NL West.