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Healthy Quentin excited to return to lineup

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CINCINNATI -- Carlos Quentin played in his first game this season in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Reds. He was in the starting lineup and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

The outfielder started the season on the disabled list after incurring a bone bruise on his left knee in March while sliding to make a catch during Spring Training. Prior to that, Quentin had undergone three surgeries on his right knee since joining San Diego in 2012.

Quentin played in 82 games last year, hitting .275 with 21 doubles, 13 home runs and 44 RBIs in 320 plate appearances.

"It feels good. I finally get to start my season," Quentin said before Tuesday's game. "It's all positive. My body feels all right. I'm all ready to go.

Quentin played in seven rehab games between Triple-A El Paso (3) and Class A Lake Elsinore (4), batting .167 (3-for-18) with a home run. He said the biggest challenge has been getting his stamina back.

"It's more just a stamina and endurance thing," he said. "I hadn't played for a month and then had about a week of rehab. I've gotten my feet under me, but we'll just monitor that."

Padres manager Bud Black was thrilled to have Quentin back in the lineup at the same time as others that have been injured recently, including Chase Headley and Yonder Alonso. Tuesday marked the first time since Sep. 5, 2012 that Black had penciled all three into the starting lineup together.

"When you draw it up in the winter time and you look at it, that's what it's supposed to look like," Black said of Tuesday's lineup card. "It's good to see. Now obviously, we've got to carry it over onto the field with performance, but with Q and Headley back in there, and the way Smitty [Seth Smith] is swinging the bat, you know, Jedd [Gyorko] and Yonder down towards the middle or back part of that lineup, and their potential, it looks pretty good."

Quentin said he's excited that the lineup is looking more like San Diego had projected coming into camp in the spring.

"It feels good to just be back in the lineup," he said. "I think it's key that we're all healthy and can complement each other and take the pressure off each other. That's how our lineup works, and we look forward to getting that going."

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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