Quentin fondly recalls time spent with White Sox

Quentin fondly recalls time spent with White Sox

CHICAGO -- In the span of a week, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin will have visited each of the three stops he's made in his Major League career.

On Wednesday, the Padres finished a three-game set against the D-backs, an organization that drafted and developed Quentin. This Monday, Quentin will return to San Diego for a series against the Pirates.

But in between, beginning Friday, Quentin returned to Chicago and U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since Sept. 12, 2011, when he was still a member of the White Sox.

This place, Quentin said, will always hold a special place. His career might have started elsewhere, but this is where he truly became a Major Leaguer.

"It will be great going back, I still have my mentor Paul Konerko there," Quentin said Wednesday as he looked forward to this stop. "It was four years. That's pretty meaningful. I'll be curious what it's like on the visiting side, because all I ever knew was the home side."

Quentin hit 107 home runs and knocked in 320 runs over four seasons (2008-11) and was also a two-time All-Star with the White Sox. His best season was 2008, when he hit .288 with 36 home runs and 100 RBIs.

The White Sox later dealt Quentin to the Padres on Dec. 31, 2011. He was then traded from Arizona to Chicago on Dec. 3, 2007, after playing in a combined 138 games over the previous two seasons with the D-backs.

"They [D-backs] had several prospects at that time, and they drafted Justin Upton and gave Eric Byrnes a deal and there wasn't any space for me," Quentin said. "They traded me away, which, I guess, was in my best interest. They could have sent me back to the Minor Leagues."

Quentin said he gravitated toward the veterans in the White Sox clubhouse -- Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and Konerko.

"Those guys took a lot of pressure off me, and I was able to perform," Quentin said.

It was also in Chicago where Quentin stopped relying solely on his natural athletic ability and started to study hitters and talk hitting with others -- like hitting coach Greg Walker, who helped him immensely.

"Going over there, I felt I was relatively unknown. It was a sink-or-swim type of deal. I studied lots of tape and lots of hitters and learned as much as I could about hitting," Quentin said. "Up to that point, I listened to too many voices. It was a feel thing, I really had no idea what I was doing.

"But I was able to perform there and establish myself as a big leaguer."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.