DET@SD: Smith runs down fly ball to make the catch

SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres traded for outfielder Seth Smith, they did so to specifically address their woeful production a year ago against right-handed pitching.

As it turns out, Smith has shown he can play a little defense as well.

Smith has already made several nice catches in left field, including a running grab near the wall in left field Sunday against the Tigers that saved a run on Nick Castellanos' line drive.

"He's done a nice job and made some really nice plays. He played in a ballpark in Colorado that was a tough outfield. He has experience," said Padres manager Bud Black.

"There's been some really nice plays, some difficult plays in terms of routes and angles. He's been on top of it."

Smith got most of his playing time as a designated hitter with the A's the past two seasons. He appeared in 66 games in the outfield in 2012 and then 58 a year ago with the A's.

"I probably took a couple steps back in Oakland since I was a DH and didn't have the opportunity to go out there a lot," Smith said. "That's one of the things I've enjoyed about playing here. I like playing defense. It keeps me in the game, keeps me athletic and keeps me [mentally] in the game."

Smith said that while he's enjoying getting the chance to play in the field more, he's not focusing any more on defense than he has in the past.

"It's kind of all-encompassing. You want to be the best you can be at all aspects of the game and not be pigeonholed," he said. "Everything you do, you want to be great at it. That's how I approach it."

With Carlos Quentin on the disabled list, Smith has made 10 starts in left field, including Monday night against the Rockies at Petco Park.

Quentin progressing, takes BP on field

SD@TEX: Quentin launches a towering shot to left

SAN DIEGO -- After hitting inside the indoor cage at Petco Park the past five days, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin stepped out into the late-afternoon sun Monday and took batting practice.

"It's a good first step for him," said Padres manager Bud Black. "When this happens, then it's a good sign for Carlos and the club."

Quentin has been on the disabled list since March 29, retroactive to March 25. He suffered a bone bruise to his left knee making a sliding catch in the outfielder in a Spring Training game on March 16.

Quentin had only been able to hit indoors until Monday, when he took batting practice with the rest of his teammates before the Padres faced the Rockies in the opener of a four-game series.

Black isn't quite to the point where he's ready to set a date for Quentin's Minor League rehabilitation stint, as Quentin will still need to run on the knee and increase the intensity of his workouts so he can show the club he's ready to take the next step toward rejoining the team.

The Padres' Class A California League affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm, are about one hour north of downtown San Diego. The team is home Thursday through Sunday, though that might be too soon for Quentin to start a rehab assignment.

"He's got to go play, he's got to get back in game shape," Black said. "He still has to pass these tests and get back on the field."

That will include having Quentin playing in the field during his rehab stint.

"There's a stamina component there, it's a 2 1/2 hours, three hours concentration component … you can't step out of the training room and just go into a big league game," Black said.

With Quentin out, the Padres have given 10 starts to Seth Smith in left field and three to Tommy Medica.