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.

Report: Mariners interested in Asdrubal Cabrera

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Matt Ehalt of The Record reports that the Mariners may have some interest in acquiring second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets. The club hasn’t confirmed anything of the kind, naturally, but the prevailing thought is that they’ll need some insurance at second base if they reach the playoffs, since Cano’s current 80-game suspension precludes him from participating in any postseason series.

On Friday, club GM Jerry Dipoto revealed that Cano will likely return to the team as a first baseman once his suspension expires, while second baseman/outfielder Dee Gordon is slated to remain at the keystone for the foreseeable future. With the infield all but set in stone, however, Dipoto said that acquiring position players at this year’s deadline isn’t likely to be a “primary concern,” especially as the team focuses on strengthening their pitching staff prior to making a run at the postseason.

Still, there’s a case to be made for Cabrera. The 32-year-old second baseman has already improved on some of last year’s totals and is currently batting .282/.335/.492 with 17 home runs (16 more than Gordon has tallied so far in 2018), 21 doubles and an .827 OPS in 385 plate appearances. He could provide some much-needed support behind Gordon until Cano’s suspension lifts on August 14; following the end of the 2018 season, he’s scheduled to enter the free agent pool for 2019.