Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

'Q' rating - can Carlos Quentin's career be saved with the Sox?

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carlos-quentin.jpgPITTSBURGH - Right now, that bachelors degree in Poli Sci from Stanford isn't holding much weight for Carlos Quentin.
He should have thrown in a few Psychology classes along the way. Maybe then he would be able to explain why he has gone from 2008 MVP candidate to enigma in less than two seasons.
Because it's obvious the White Sox sure can't.
"I will keep playing Carlos, unless something happens to him, but we're going to pick our spots when to play him, we got guys that can help him, like [Mark] Kotsay, [Andruw] Jones, help him in the outfield,'' manager Ozzie Guillen explained, when the topic of Quentin came up on Wednesday. "I'm going to give him the best opportunity to go through the season. He's the one that will dictate to me how much he wants to play. If he gets good at-bats, hopefully we can get ... every day we come to the ballpark, we hope Carlos comes out of this. We've seen some signs, but then the next couple of days - done.
"Hopefully he can come with the right frame of mind every day. Hopefully he doesn't put doubts in himself. I'm going to give him his at-bats. We expect good things out of him every day.''
And they have every day since 2008.
The problem is it's not being seen.
After hitting .288 with 36 homers and 100 RBI in that magical '08 season, Quentin's 2009 was filled with a slow start and then a slower left foot. Plantar fasciitis hampered him most of the year, allowing him to only play in 99 games and hit .236 with 21 homers.
But the foot injury aside, there were warning signs even last season that Quentin's biggest obstacle on the baseball diamond was not the opposing pitcher as much as himself.
''Q has always been a guy where -- I think it's probably why Arizona felt they were capable of giving him away -- was they felt he was an over-analyzer,'' hitting coach Greg Walker said last last season. ''He's the first to admit it, that he is a student of the mechanics of the swing, sometimes to a fault. [In 2008] he figured it out, grabbed something and ran with it. ... We need to have him look in the mirror, remember what worked in 2008, grab it and stick with in through hell or high water.''
Quentin entered Wednesday's game with the Pirates 1-for-10 on the current road trip, hitting .201 on the year with eight homers.
Not exactly what the Sox were hoping for when they made it a point this offseason that they needed both Quentin and Alex Rios to step up to the challenge in 2010. One half of the equation has. Quentin? Well, the wait continues.
Earlier this season, Diamondbacks color analyst Mark Grace said of Quentin that from what he saw of him in his playing days with the outfielder in Arizona was that if Quentin had a first good at-bat, the sky was the limit that night, but a bad first-bat to start a game? Have fun trying to get through the dark clouds.
Quentin's first at-bat on Wednesday, he grounded into a double play. Ugly in every way. His second at-bat he picked up the RBI single, lacing the baseball to left field. In the sixth, an RBI double just off the top of the center-field wall.
So maybe there has been growth. Baby steps, but growth.
Guillen was asked how much Quentin's struggles have hurt the team this season, and replied, "Well it doesn't hurt me, it hurts him, too. It's not easy to rebound that well, I think it takes him a little longer than anybody else to be what he was. We've got three or four months of baseball to turn it around, but in the meanwhile, we have to make sure we give him the best opportunity, put him in the best spot, to produce. That's what we're looking for.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on June 16, 2010 7:42 PM.

Flight Club: Williams making nice with Ozzie ... for now was the previous entry in this blog.

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