The 29-year-old Quentin began to experience inflammation in his right knee after reporting to spring training and the team's medical staff has been monitoring the situation since. He said Saturday he wanted to have the routine surgery now to potentially avoid a more serious injury down the road.
"Spring training days can substitute for rehab days so I can get on the field as fast as possible and play games that do count," Quentin said. "My other option involved trying to manage it. Knowing any type of slide or blunt-force trauma to the knee could re-aggravate it and miss an unforeseeable amount of games, this decision is made with the hope no games will be missed once the knee is healthy."
The Padres open the regular season April 5 at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Quentin was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on Dec. 31. The Padres parted with two minor league pitchers in the deal, and manager Bud Black said he plans to use Quentin in the cleanup spot this season.
San Diego struggled to score last year after it traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox in December 2010. The Padres finished 71-91 and in last place in the National League West after scoring the third-fewest runs in baseball and hitting the least homers in the majors (91).
Quentin hit .533 with a homer and four RBIs in 15 at-bats this spring even though he was bothered by the knee.
"The knee nagged him to the point where it just made sense to have it scoped," Black said. "He was playing through discomfort and playing well. It's better to do this now than to have him continue to try to fight through this. If it gets worse it might affect his play."
Black said Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks and Chris Denorfia will see most of the playing time with Quentin out. General manager Josh Byrnes thinks Quentin could miss as little as two weeks of the regular season.
"We've got the depth," Byrnes said. "We'll miss 'Q' while he's out. But this is a chance for him to return in April."
Quentin, who will earn $7,025,000 this season, said he has never experienced problems with his knees. But he missed time last season with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and was limited to 99 games in 2009 because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
"We figured this was the best chance to have a good season and be back healthy strong and successful," Quentin said of the surgery. "If you do the math it gives me an enormous chunk of the season to be healthy."