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Injury hurts Quentin's MVP chances

Injury hurts Quentin's MVP chances

Prior to injuring his wrist on Sept. 1, Carlos Quentin was considered to be one of the front-runners for the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Award.

At the time of the injury, the White Sox left fielder was batting .288 with a Major League-leading 36 home runs. He had 100 RBIs, 96 runs scored, a .394 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage.

Unfortunately for Quentin -- and the White Sox -- those numbers ended up being his final stats for the '08 season. A fracture in his right wrist and ensuing surgery to fix it caused him to miss the final 27 regular season games for the White Sox. Without the wrist problem, Quentin likely would have seen his numbers rise to top 40 homers on the season and put his RBI total into the 115-120 range.

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But despite his prolonged absence and inability to add to his production, Quentin still stood among the American League offensive leaders in 2008, and the outfielder is likely to be among the leading vote-getters when the AL MVP Award is announced Tuesday.

Quentin, 26, faces some stiff competition, though, just to finish in the top five for the honor. Along with Quentin, the top contenders for this year's award are Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, Minnesota's Justin Morneau, Texas' Josh Hamilton and Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez.

There is no questioning the impact that Quentin had on the White Sox. After being acquired in a trade with the D-backs in December, Quentin was a huge surprise for Chicago. He became the most consistent offensive producer for the White Sox from the start of the season until his injury.

The outfielder earned his first trip to the All-Star Game in July, and his strong season was recognized when he earned his first Silver Slugger Award on Thursday.

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But while Quentin's numbers are strong, voters for the MVP Award may have penalized the outfielder for the fact that his injury was self-inflicted.

Quentin hurt himself during an at-bat against Cliff Lee, the AL Cy Young winner, on Sept. 1. The outfielder fouled off the second pitch from Lee, and punched the bat with his right hand in frustration, resulting in the fracture in his wrist.

So just how much will the injury affect Quentin's finish in the AL MVP race? That should be known when the award is announced on Tuesday.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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