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Nearing return, Beckham heads for rehab assignment

Second baseman has recovered quickly from fractured bone in left hand

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gordon Beckham's goal of returning to the White Sox lineup within a week and a half is looking realistic.

Prior to the series finale with the Twins on Wednesday, Beckham departed from Minneapolis for a rehab assignment with Chicago's Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights.

Beckham, who underwent surgery on April 16 to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, began taking swings off a tee late last week and has slowly increased his workload in the past few days.

Although his rehab has progressed on the fast side of his original timetable of six to eight weeks, the month-long layoff has left Beckham anxious to get back as soon as he can.

"I don't feel like I haven't played in a while," Beckham said. "I feel like my body is ready. It's just a matter of time now to get the reps to get back up."

The second baseman is set to join Charlotte on Wednesday, but he said he isn't expecting to be in the lineup until Saturday, when the Knights travel to Buffalo.

Beckham will be joined in Charlotte by infielder Angel Sanchez, who was also sent there Wednesday to complete the final stage of his rehab from a lower back strain. Sanchez's only appearance this season came on April 9 in a loss to the Nationals, the same game Beckham injured his hand.

"It's one of those things that you feel good that they're going back out and will see how it feels, just to make sure they're healthy, just to get them going again," manager Robin Ventura said. "You can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel for a couple guys getting healthy again."

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
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