Carlos Quentin to resume rehab assignment Friday

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Carlos Quentin embarked on a minor league rehab assignment earlier this month, but he was shut down after experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired right knee. Now he’s ready to give it another shot.

According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Padres manager Bud Black said that Quentin will join High-A Lake Elsinore tomorrow. He got the go-ahead after playing three games in extended spring training earlier this week, twice in the field and once as the designated hitter.

“Now he feels good in his stance, and we think the time off gave him what he needed,” Black said. “It’s very encouraging how he’s feeling right now.”

Quentin, who was acquired from White Sox at the end of December, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on March 19. The San Diego native had 21 at-bats in the minors before his setback, but it’s not clear how many at-bats he’ll need this time around before making his Padres’ debut.

While Quentin will almost certainly miss hitting in U.S. Cellular Field, he should provide a nice boost for an offense which entered play tonight dead-last in the majors with 17 home runs. The 29-year-old outfielder is due to hit free agency this offseason and while there was some brief talk about a possible contract extension, he figures to be trade bait for the rebuilding Padres.

Braves clinch NL East title

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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.