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Quentin's return likely after All-Star break

Quentin's return likely after All-Star break

CHICAGO -- If Carlos Quentin had his ultimate baseball wish granted, the All-Star left fielder would take one giant step forward and be back into the White Sox starting lineup some point in the next few days.

That dream doesn't look as if it will become a reality any time soon. In fact, manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't expect Quentin back in his lineup until after the All-Star break.

"Nope. I want to be optimistic, more than anybody, but the [way the] process and the progress is going right now, you have to be honest with yourself," Guillen said. "I've got to be honest with you guys.

"If Carlos is back before the All-Star break, it's a blessing. We'll be lucky. But I talked to Carlos personally and told him, 'I don't want you to be a hero. I want you to go on the field when you can go on the field. If you can't do anything about it, just make sure to let me know.'"

Quentin was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, placed there while suffering from soreness in his left foot due to a bout with plantar fasciitis. Quentin last saw action on May 25 in Anaheim, while he was running out a first-inning double in the White Sox 17-3 victory over the Angels.

As he turned the corner at first base, Quentin felt a pop in his left foot and barely could make it into second. That pop signified a tear in the tendon, according to Quentin's comments on Wednesday, which actually is a positive move in the healing process for this malady.

It also sent Quentin back to the starting line in regard to his present ability to play, forcing Quentin to practice a little patience where getting back into action is concerned.

"You know, patience is a virtue and something I've never been good at," Quentin said. "It's something right now I'm forced to [practice]. I'm going to focus more on the improvements I've made, and I'm very optimistic about those.

"When it happened, it was something where we had to take a step back. That's why I'm where I'm at right now."

That recovery locale had Quentin jogging Tuesday, which stands out as a definite positive considering Quentin couldn't jog three days ago. He had been swinging before he could jog, even while wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

"Running is the big thing right now," Quentin said.

"Once he gets through some of that initial soreness, he's going to get better pretty quickly," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. "It's just symptomatic."

Williams certainly didn't agree with Guillen's diagnosis on Quentin's extended time away from the field, saying there was no real timetable for his return. Quentin, meanwhile, said that he didn't want to make any promises but getting back by the All-Star break was one of his definite goals.

In reality, Quentin's timetable is going through rehab one day and then making sure there's no setback the following day.

"To date, that hasn't happened. I feel very optimistic it won't happen," Quentin said. "It's tough for any athlete, I think. I want to be on the field. You want to be able to contribute and help and hopefully make a difference."

Guillen expects Quentin to return this season, and the worst-case scenario has not remotely been discussed within the organization. If the White Sox fall out of contention, though, and Quentin still isn't ready to return, Guillen acknowledged the 2008 AL Most Valuable Player candidate could be shut down for the rest of the year.

"Then it depends where we are," Guillen said. "If we're out of the pennant race, I don't understand why he has to come back and play. I don't see why. Maybe he wants to. But if we're in the pennant race, I'm more than glad to have him on the field."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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