Carlos Quentin cleared for live batting practice

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Carlos Quentin is far enough along in his recovery from March 19 knee surgery that he’s been cleared for live batting practice.

Quentin was initially given a 4-6 week return timetable and won’t be ready to return by the time he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on April 18, but manager Bud Black told Corey Brock of MLB.com that a minor-league rehab assignment isn’t far off if setbacks can be avoided.

Quentin was acquired from the White Sox for a pair of prospects in December and moving from power-inflating U.S. Cellular Field to pitcher’s haven Petco Park figures to drag down his raw numbers, but the Padres can definitely use his right-handed thump in the lineup. He averaged 33 homers per 150 games for the White Sox and they’ve been platooning Chris Denorfia and Will Venable in right field while playing Jesus Guzman everyday in left field in Quentin’s absence.

George Springer leaves game after being hit by a pitch

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George Springer has been a dynamo out of the leadoff spot for the high-powered Astros this year, hitting 21 homers and driving in 46. He also leads the league in leadoff homers. Today, however, his leadoff appearance was short and ignominious.

Facing Jesse Hahn and the A’s in the Oakland Coliseum for a matinee, Springer was hit in the left hand on the game’s fifth pitch. Watch:

He went down to the dirt and was attended to by trainers before leaving the game. On the way off the field he threw his helmet in disgust. Oftentimes that sort of frustration comes from a player who knows he’s injured. How serious an injury is unknown at the moment. We’ll keep you posted.

Jake Marisnick pinch ran for Springer and came around to score. The Astros lead the A’s 2-0.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.