- Associated Press - Saturday, December 31, 2011

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Being traded from the Chicago White Sox to his hometown San Diego Padres couldn’t have been any more convenient for All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin.

“I get a call and they said I’ve been traded to San Diego. I’m already here,” Quentin said on a conference call shortly after the trade was announced Saturday.

Four years after trading Quentin from Arizona to the White Sox, new Padres general manager Josh Byrnes is bringing him home.

Byrnes made his second bold move in two weeks when he acquired Quentin for two prospects.

“Trading him is pretty high on my list of regrets,” Byrnes said. “That group in Arizona had a lot of talent. Carlos always stood out for his intensity and his style of play. Having a chance to get him back became very appealing here this offseason.”

The trade is expected to bolster San Diego’s offense, which was dreadful as the Padres finished last in the NL West at 71-91, 23 games behind the Diamondbacks. Quentin has four consecutive 20-homer seasons, including 36 in 2008.

“Improving our offense is a priority this offseason and the acquisition of Carlos gives us a proven middle-of-the-order bat,” Byrnes said. “We specifically targeted Carlos because of his production and his hard-nosed style of play.”

While Quentin started the last two seasons in right field for the White Sox, he’s penciled into left field with the Padres.

The White Sox received minor league pitchers Simon Castro, a right-hander, and Pedro Hernandez, a left-hander.

“San Diego came back and obviously put something on the table that attracted us,” White Sox GM Ken Williams said. “Both of these guys are guys that we can ultimately see, and we can see them very quickly here.”

Castro went 7-8 with a 5.63 ERA in 22 starts between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson last season.

“He will be the first to admit that last year he did not distinguish himself amongst some of his peers that were also considered top prospects at the time,” Williams said. “We’ve got to get him back there. Just one year ago you wouldn’t have been able to get this type of guy.”

Williams said Dayan Viciedo goes into spring training as Chicago’s starting right fielder.

On Dec. 17, Byrnes dealt right-hander Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds for four players, including starter Edinson Volquez and Yonder Alonso, the leading contender to start at first base.

The two moves reverse a recent Padres trend of dealing big leaguers for prospects and shedding salary. Byrnes said the Padres were able to make these deals because his predecessor, Jed Hoyer, did a good job of acquiring prospects over the previous two years before he left to become GM of the Chicago Cubs.

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