Carlos Quentin to begin minor league rehab assignment Tuesday

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Carlos Quentin is inching closer to his Padres’ debut following March knee surgery.

According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, Quentin is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Tucson.

Quentin has slowly increased baseball activities after being cleared for live batting practice earlier this month. Padres manager Bud Black told Hayes that the 29-year-old outfielder will need more than seven games in the minors to get ready, so we likely won’t see him with the big club until late next week.

Quentin, a San Diego native, was acquired from the White Sox in late December after batting .254/.340/.499 with 24 homers, 77 RBI and an .838 OPS over 483 plate appearances last year. He can become a free agent this offseason, but while the Padres expressed some initial interest in a contract extension, his name figures to eventually pop up in trade talks.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.