SAN DIEGO -- In the past, the grind of a six-month season, preceded by six weeks of Spring Training, no less, were enough to render Carlos Quentin wholly exhausted by the first week of October.
Not this year, though.
"Usually at the end of a year, you feel tired ... like you need a break," Quentin said. "But this is kind of a weird feeling. I want to get started and prepare for next year."
Quentin's first season as an outfielder for the Padres officially ended on Oct. 3 when the team played its last regular season game in Milwaukee.
But by then, the 30-year-old wasn't eyeballing a relaxing winter, but a rather taxing one, as he prepares for 2013 by getting his surgically-repaired right knee strong enough to endure more than the 86 games he played with the team this season.
"I haven't really had a normal year," Quentin said. "I had to watch a lot of games. I've got some work to do this offseason. But I'm excited to get going."
Two days after the end of the regular season, Quentin had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee -- the same knee he had surgery on in March. This latest procedure, to repair a tear in the meniscus, won't prevent him from his off-season workouts.
"He feels good about the knee already," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's in a good frame of mind about his knee."
The first surgery Quentin had in March caused him to miss the first 49 regular season games. When he returned on May 28, he did so with a blast -- like five of them, five home runs in his first six games with the team.
"The training staff did a great job getting me on the field," Quentin said.
Quentin had a line of .261/.374/.504 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs in 284 at-bats. The team's offense functioned much better with him in it, not just because of his bat, but as it allowed Chase Headley to hit more in the No. 3 spot in the order, where he had a career season. And it alleviated pressure on rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso, who had 39 doubles, mostly out of the Nos. 5 and 6 spots in the lineup.
"You add that bat to the lineup, it makes it difficult for the pitcher to work his way through a game. You get four at-bats of Carlos Quentin, it helps everyone else," Black said. "The pitcher has to work awfully hard through the top part of the order and having him in there pushes guys down a notch or two in the lineup. You have to consistently make better pitches."
In July, the team gave Quentin a three-year deal worth $27 million with a $10 million mutual option for 2016. Quentin can assure himself of $3 million in 2016 if he's able to appear in 320 games over the next three seasons.
But will he?
Quentin's knee needed routine maintenance even after he returned in May. On Sept. 19 against the D-backs in Phoenix, Quentin aggravated the knee chasing two fly balls in the outfield. He didn't play any defense the rest of the way and had three pinch-hit appearances in the last 13 games.
With his surgery now behind him, Quentin is focused on getting healthy -- his entire body, and not just his knee -- for the 2013 season, one where he would like to play at a lighter weight.
"Some of it will be training, some rest and some weight loss," Quentin said of the plan that he's set up with the help of the Padres. "It will all be geared to staying on the field. I liked my weight when I came in. But when you have a surgery, especially with your lower half, you can't do the extra work you want to do. I had to limit that greatly.
"Given the circumstances of my knee, I think a lighter weight will be beneficial to me. My best year in Chicago, I was around 230 [pounds]. This year, I was in the 240's. It doesn't seem like that much, but over a season, it takes a toll. Hopefully my durability will return [with lost weight]."
Quentin liked what he saw from the Padres in the second half of the season, when they went 31-22 over their final 53 games and had winning records in July and August after a dismal start.
"I think we've got some good players here, a good chemistry that we've started to build. The staff has created a great environment for us. A lot of young guys showed they can play at this level," Quentin said.
"I like where the team is heading."