CHICAGO -- The road to recovery for Scott Podsednik soon will be traveling through Louisville, as the White Sox leadoff man begins a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday night. This journey with the Knights at the home of the Reds' affiliate marks what Podsednik hopes to be the final stage of his comeback from a right adductor (groin) strain, leaving him on the disabled list since April 16. "I'm excited; I'm really excited," said Podsednik of his rehab assignment. "One, to get out there and run around a little bit, and two, to get the legs strengthened up. I'm excited to eventually get back and join these guys out here."
When Podsednik went down during an off-day workout, he was anchoring left field and hitting .303 with a .378 on-base percentage. The envisioned 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup of Podsednik and Darin Erstad barely had time to get going. Podsednik has a great deal of familiarity with this particular injury and followed a slow and steady process to work his way back to the White Sox. He had an MRI exam on Monday, showing encouraging signs of improvement while also letting Podsednik know it was time to "crank it up" and test his baseball skills. According to Podsednik, he's done everything but play during this current rehab process. "I've doing all those types of things, but you can't recreate game-type action, so that's what we are going to go down to do," Podsednik said. "It has been feeling well. It has been improving. "But it moved along at a slow pace. I thought that I would be playing by this point. Like I mentioned earlier, each one of these injuries is its own thing, and they all react a little differently." Manager Ozzie Guillen threw batting practice to Podsednik on Tuesday and liked what he saw in Podsednik's swing. But the real test will be as to how Podsednik's legs respond, making it almost impossible for Podsednik to set a timetable for his White Sox return. "[White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider] told me and Ozzie told me, 'Don't come back until you are ready to steal a base,'" said Podsednik with a smile. "That's the bottom line. I'm most valuable to this club on base, and without my ability to steal a base, I'm pretty much useless. I'll be ready to run when you see me back." "We know he's ready to go to rehab," Guillen added. "Hopefully when he gets there, he feels better and moves the way he should be moving." Back on the bench: Mired in a 1-for-18 slump and with just three hits in his last 26 at-bats over the past eight games, Joe Crede was out of action for Tuesday night's contest with the Yankees. But it was more back soreness, and not the slump, which kept Crede sidelined. It's a problem that Guillen believes might be affecting Crede's swing. "I think so," said Guillen of Crede's back. "This kid started running, he's always stretching. ... I asked him about it, and he said it's a little stiff. "He tried to play through it. I said, 'I want to give you a couple of days to see how you feel,' and hopefully he feels better." Crede previously was out of action for three games at the end of May because of the persistent back problem. At that point, the White Sox opted against placing him on the disabled list. If a few days of rest doesn't improve Crede's condition, though, Guillen might turn to a couple weeks of inactivity to get his third baseman closer to full strength. "I'd rather lose him for 15 days than three or four months," said Guillen. "When you have back problems the way it is, yeah, you can play through it, but you don't know exactly what it is." At full strength: Podsednik's 10 games played this season mark the extent of the White Sox having a full complement of players available. Once Podsednik goes through his Minor League rehab stint and Erstad's sprained left ankle heals, the South Siders are hoping to get a boost simply from having their lineup intact. "We've had injuries coming on the heels of guys before that," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "As soon as one guy gets healthy, another guy goes down. We want to get Scott back. When he's healthy, I can imagine him and Darin at the top of the lineup, and that should be good." Guillen said using Podsednik and Erstad at the top of the order would depend on the left-handed relievers in the bullpen for the opposition. He didn't want to have three straight lefties, including Jim Thome, at the top. But Podsednik looks forward to the spark he can proved as the offensive igniter. "At times, we've lacked that intensity, lacked that energy, it seems," Podsednik said. "Hopefully, I can come back and make some things happen." Young and strong: Jon Garland threw 119 pitches to put himself within two outs of a complete game during Monday's 6-4 victory. But even with the highest pitch total for any White Sox starter this season, the right-hander wouldn't have minded throwing a few more to finish the task at hand. "Every time I take the mound, I intend to finish what I start," Garland said. "But then again, I'm not watching myself. I don't know what it looks like. [Guillen] is the manager, and it's his call." Around the horn: The June 24 series finale of the Cubs-Sox battle at U.S. Cellular Field will begin at 1:05 p.m. CT. The starting time previously was listed as TBD. ... In the midst of 37 straight games against teams without a winning record, the White Sox entered Tuesday's contest with a 2-3 mark during this stretch. ... Juan Uribe's second-inning walk gave him 13 in 2007, matching his total from all of 2006. ... Gayle Sayers, one of the greatest running backs in Chicago Bears history, is scheduled to throw out one of the first pitches prior to Wednesday's contest. ... Radio play-by-play announcer Ed Farmer, A.J. Pierzynski and Matt Thornton joined Secretary of State Jesse White on Tuesday at the James R. Thompson Center in promoting the "Life Goes On" campaign. It's part of the organ/tissue donor drive for the new Illinois Donor Registry. Down on the farm: Josh Fields knocked out two hits and drove in a run during Charlotte's 4-1 loss at Indianapolis on Monday. Fields has a .359 average, with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs over his last 10 games. ... Micah Schnurstein finished with three hits, including his 15th home run, in leading Class A Winston-Salem to a 5-4 victory over Frederick in 12 innings. Kyle McCulloch, the team's first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, allowed three runs over six innings. ... Brandon Allen had three hits and three RBIs in Class A Kannapolis' 7-6 win over Greenville. ... Gio Gonzalez was limited to only 2 1/3 scoreless innings because of rain as part of Double-A Birmingham's 8-1 setback at Tennessee. On deck: Wednesday's third game of this four-game set brings a matchup for Javier Vazquez (3-3, 3.95 ERA) against one of his former employers. Vazquez, who pitched for the Yankees in 2004, has a 1-2 lifetime record and 5.00 ERA when facing New York. The contest is set for a 7:11 p.m. CT start at U.S. Cellular Field.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.