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Hot-hitting Quentin focused on health

Hot-hitting Quentin focused on health

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DETROIT -- Carlos Quentin has not single-handedly put the significant crimp in the Tigers' playoff plans over the past two weekends, with the White Sox having won four of the games played between the two in that stretch. But he certainly has contributed to Detroit's demise.

The White Sox left fielder, who earned his first All-Star nod in 2008, will finish up a somewhat disappointing '09 campaign on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park. But he is ending on an upswing, with six home runs and 21 RBIs in his past 23 games.

Saturday's solo shot off Alfredo Figaro leading off the second marked the fourth straight game in which Quentin went deep against the Tigers. In 11 games played by Quentin against Detroit, he has six home runs and 14 RBIs -- his most against any opponent.

Not exactly paltry numbers for a healthy performer, but made even more impressive by the fact that Quentin has battled through plantar fasciitis in his left foot and inflammation in his right knee for much of the current year. Mention those injuries to Quentin, though, and he won't hesitate to wave them off as prime factors in his .239 average, 21 home runs and 56 RBIs over 98 games.

In 2008, a healthy Quentin hit .288 with 36 home runs and 100 RBIs in a career-best 130 games.

"You know, you don't want to make any excuses for your performance," said Quentin, speaking prior to Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Tigers. "The injuries were tough. They happened and led to other things, other injuries as well.

"Injuries do happen, but the key is to bounce back and get your body feeling the right way. You just try to learn from everything."

So, what did Quentin learn from this injury-riddled past season? Quentin understands how getting into optimum physical condition will go a long way in helping him react to potential future maladies in 2010 and beyond.

"Injury prevention will be my utmost priority in this offseason training," Quentin said. "I already have things in the works where I adjust how I train and come back next year more flexible and lighter on my feet. The goal is staying on the field and giving myself the best chance to perform.

"It's something I want to take care of. Just my build, I can carry a lot of weight and I can take it off. Finding a happy medium in between will help me. That's something, from my lower half to my upper half, it will take pressure off the joints.

"One thing about this year with injuries, they happen," Quentin said. "Maybe a little less weight would have allowed it to feel better."

Sitting on Quentin's immediate offseason agenda will be surgery to have pins removed from his right wrist. That wrist was surgically repaired last September after Quentin suffered a fracture when he punched his bat following a foul ball during a game in Cleveland at the start of the final month.

As for his right knee, Quentin hopes rest and rehab helps avoid any further procedures.

"They are confident rest and some healing will take care of itself," said Quentin of his right knee. "I'm also going to get my [left] foot looked at after the season to make sure everything is clear with that and what's the best route for getting that better as quickly as possible."

Physical fitness won't be Quentin's sole offseason focus. He plans on "re-examining" his swing, and once he feels healthier, Quentin will work with hitting coach Greg Walker to clean things up as needed. The two have already spoken about this particular endeavor.

Although Quentin steadfastly refuses to use the injuries as any sort of crutch, there's no question the medical maladies had an impact on his season-long struggles. Getting into better condition should help Quentin get into a better place, both offensively and defensively, for 2010.

"I'm just brainstorming, just trying to get better and thinking of ways to do that," Quentin said. "Not just from my swing to my defense, but how you feel every day. Sometimes our worst experience serve as our best teacher."

"With a new mentality and attitude, there's no doubt Carlos will bounce back and have a good year," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't think he's going to have numbers like 2008, but he's going to be better than this year. He went through a lot of things physically and he got caught in the spot that when he came back, he wanted to put up his numbers so quickly and in such a hurry that he hurt himself."

Pitching matchup
CWS: LHP John Danks (13-10, 3.69 ERA)
During Monday's 6-1 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field, Danks accomplished two personal goals. The left-hander hurled his first complete game as a professional, and he set a single-season high in victories at 13 -- a total that figures to lead the White Sox in 2009. Danks will make one more start in search of another goal, which is reaching 200 innings pitched in 2009. Danks enters the game against the Tigers needing 4 2/3 innings to reach that target for the first time in his three-year career. Danks is one of just three pitchers in the history of the White Sox to make 25 starts in each of his first three seasons with the team. He has a 0-1 record against Detroit this season.

DET: RHP Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.45 ERA)
Verlander missed out on a quality start Tuesday night against the Twins, but his eight innings and four runs allowed held onto what was once a five-run lead.

Tidbits
Despite finishing 0-for-5 in Saturday's game, A.J. Pierzynski exited the contest hitting .300. With one game remaining on Sunday, Pierzynski put himself in position to be the first catcher in White Sox history to bat .300 in a single season. ... The White Sox swiped six bases on Saturday, their most in a game since stealing six on May 1, 2006, at Cleveland. ... Alex Rios had his first multi-RBI game since Aug. 8 against Baltimore, when he had two for Toronto. ... Seven of Freddy Garcia's nine starts were of the quality variety this season. ... Every starter but Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham reached base for the White Sox on Saturday. ... Second baseman Chris Getz underwent successful surgery for a sports hernia, performed by Dr. Williams Meyers in Philadelphia. ... The White Sox improved to 36-44 on the road and 9-8 against the Tigers on Saturday.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• WGN

On radio
• WSCR 670

Scott Merkin 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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