BOSTON -- The Padres believe they might have found a way to help outfielder Carlos Quentin stay on the field more often.
Quentin missed most of Spring Training while dealing with residual soreness in his surgically repaired right knee and got off to a slow start at the plate once the regular season began.
Hitting coach Phil Plantier suggested some changes to Quentin's setup and stance that were aimed at taking stress off his knee.
"There was a lot of stress being put on his knee. It was getting in the way of him being able to keep his head still and be able to stay balanced and let the ball come to him … where there was that feeling of having to go get the ball to stay off of his knee," Plantier said recently.
"In a nutshell, this is compensating for being banged up, forcing him to develop a little different way to do the same things."
The results have been good thus far, as in his last 30 games, Quentin is hitting .343 with 12 extra-base hits, five home runs, 11 RBIs and a .433 on-base percentage. Over that stretch, he raised his average from .178 to .266 going into Wednesday's game.
The changes the Padres instituted -- mostly having him stand more upright in the box instead of the deep crouch he's previously used -- weren't just made to help Quentin now.
"Right now, the most important thing is to keep him healthy. This wasn't done for the short term, but for the rest of his career," Plantier said. "It alleviates the pressure he had getting deep down [in his stance]. When you get deep into your legs, there's benefits to it. But his body is worn down from it. Once you get used to doing it this way, it's going to allow him to play more games."
Quentin is making $9.5 million this season, and he will make that again in '14, then $8 million in '15. There's a mutual option for '16 worth $10 million, though Quentin can assure himself of $3 million in 2016 if he plays in 320 games over the next three seasons.
"The one thing you can count on in this game is nothing stays the same. The longer you play the game … the more you have to adapt," Plantier said. "Carlos trying to do the things that he had done in the past became counterproductive. That style of hitting was beating up his body."