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Victorino should start rehab assignment this weekend

CHICAGO -- Delayed a bit by the inclement New England weather, Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino is expected to start his Minor League rehab assignment by Friday or Saturday, said manager John Farrell.

Triple-A Pawtucket opens a homestand on Friday that lasts for a week.

Sidelined with a right hamstring strain, Victorino will need either three or four games in the Minors, which means he could be back in Boston's starting lineup by the end of the upcoming homestand.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who has been crushing the baseball in batting practice, should be cleared to start his rehab assignment within the next week. Middlebrooks is recovering from a right calf strain.

"The one thing that he hasn't attempted or been asked to attempt is just the acceleration inside of running," said Farrell. "It's more even-paced. That first step quickness and the building up to sprinting will be that one last step before we send him out."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks