With 15 games to go in the season, the San Diego Padres could be reaching decision time with left fielder Carlos Quentin.
Quentin hasn't played since Sept. 10, when he came out of the game after his first at-bat with pain in the right knee that was surgically repaired during spring training and kept him out of the Padres' first 49 games.
Before that, Quentin had missed three of his previous six scheduled starts with pain in the same knee.
So do the Padres try to have Quentin play for a couple of weeks at the end of the season, or do they shut him down and immediately begin a rehab program to get him ready for next season? Padres manager Bud Black said Quentin will not need more surgery this winter.
Quentin wants to play. But his knee hasn't been playable, so why push it?
"Because players want to play," said Black. "We're sort of converging, the end of the season and where they are, but they still want to play. Nothing beats playing. There comes a point where we may take (the possibility of playing) away (from the player), the point where we feel he can't play medically. But, medically, they still think they can play."
Quentin isn't even available to pinch-hit because his knee hurts most when he gets into a crouch to hit. The same problem early last May delayed his return from surgery.
"(The problem is) getting in his stance, his crouch, having his legs beneath him and having a good base as a hitter," said Black. "Running is a concern. But it's more the starting and stopping, the plants you make as a defender."