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Mending Willingham nears rehab assignment

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left fielder Josh Willingham took batting practice on the field before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox without any issues, and is nearing a rehab assignment.

Willingham, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a small fracture in his left wrist retroactive to April 7, also took batting practice on the field on Saturday before taking a break on Sunday.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire watched Willingham take batting practice, and came away encouraged by what he saw, but cautioned Willingham could need a lengthy rehab assignment because he hasn't played in more than a month.

"He was whacking it pretty good. I talked to him and his hand feels good," Gardenhire said. "I asked him if he's going to wear some sort of guard, but he didn't think so other than maybe when running the bases. So he's moving on the up and up here. So a few more days of BP on the field and then we'll get him on a rehab. He needs some at-bats, so it'll take some time, but we're happy to have him on the field for BP."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
Read More: Minnesota Twins, Josh Willingham