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Sox' Quentin positive about things
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Carlos Quentin

 

Associated Press

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Published: 2/24/2010 12:00 AM

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - He's healthy, and that's what matters most to the White Sox' most important hitter, Carlos Quentin.

As an added bonus, the introverted Quentin brought some surprising happiness to the Sox' Camelback Ranch clubhouse on Tuesday morning.

Beginning with reliever Matt Thornton, moving on to starter John Danks and hugging his way all around the room, Quentin took on the form of a chiseled teddy bear after reporting to spring training three days early.

Feeling more relaxed these days, Carlos?

"You never want to say relaxed, but I'm maybe a little more positive," Quentin said. "I'd use that word. Relaxed I take as being a little - lackadaisical. I would say I'm more positive and very excited. And I'm a year older."

The past two years Quentin has been an offensive force when he has been able to stay healthy.

In 2008, Quentin was the American League's likely MVP before fracturing his wrist on Sept. 1. Despite missing the final month and the playoffs, he led the White Sox in home runs (36) and RBI (100).

Last season Quentin was limited to 99 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot and a subsequent knee injury. He also was bothered by pain from the pin inserted in his right wrist, but it has been removed.

Finally feeling good and raring to get the new season under way, Quentin checked into camp and promptly worked out with conditioning coach Allen Thomas for five hours.

Focusing on core and leg work rather than weight training, Quentin's marathon session was simply a continuation of the work he did in the off-season.

"I feel good," Quentin said. "I feel healthy. It's something I really took into consideration this off-season. I worked really hard and took certain steps to feel like I can maintain my health through the season."

With that, Quentin cracked himself on the side of the head.

"Knock on wood," he said. "That's what I'm looking forward to doing. It feels good to be healthy, and it feels good to be back. The way this team's been put together, it's exciting."

When asked about the suddenly giddy Quentin, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams gave a wait-and-see response.

"That's great," Williams said. "Whatever works. It's Day One. Talk to me after his first 0-for-4."

It doesn't matter to Williams if Quentin hugs his teammates or hangs his head. He just wants the 27-year-old outfielder to stay out of the trainer's room.

"I don't care," Williams said. "He was fine the way he was. When he was healthy and on the field and producing - you don't have to be a choirboy. You don't have to be Mr. Congeniality. I care about winning and losing."

So does Quentin, and he predicts the Sox are going to have more of the former.

"It's good to be back, and I'm excited," Quentin said. "I think there's a good feeling about the team we have here. I think everyone is sharing that sentiment.

"We have a new-look offense, an exciting pitching staff. I think balance is the word to use, as long as we take it as such. If we play like a balanced team I think we can win consistently."