That intensity erupted Thursday when Quentin charged the mound after being hit by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, who suffered a broken collarbone during the collision and will miss upwards of two months. The 29-year-old starter signed a $147 million contract before the season, and he was off to a strong start with a 1-0 record and 1.59 ERA.
"If you have been around Carlos enough you know he is a very focused, intense baseball player on the field," said Lillibridge, who played with Quentin on the Chicago White Sox before Quentin was traded to the San Diego Padres. "You never know if there will be a snap or a reaction like that knowing him. He respects the game so something has to provoke him to really get in that spot.
"It might have been the last straw with Greinke throwing in on him. You never want to see anyone get hurt over it or be out a long period of time."
Greinke has hit Quentin three times, which is the most he has hit any one batter.
Quentin is among the most hit batters every season.
"Greinke is a competitor," Lillibridge said. "He is not afraid to cover both sides of the dish to get guys off of the plate.
"All that is part of the game and Carlos is used to getting hit. I know how strong he is and he is a good friend of mine, but It is a nightmare of mine to imagine him running at me. I am sure he had his reasons. He is not a guy who is known as someone who charges the mound."
Lillibridge said he would have had a different strategy if Quentin charged him.
"I don't think I would be dropping the shoulder on Carlos Quentin if he is running at me," Lillibridge said. "I would be backing up trying to absorb the blow.
"In the heat of the moment when someone is charging you, it is hard to say what you are going to do. It is part of the game, but you never want to see that."