Owens closer to return

Owens closer to return

CLEVELAND -- Jerry Owens continues to make progress in the rehab of a small tear in his right abductor muscle, suffered during Spring Training.

But Ozzie Guillen stated prior to Thursday afternoon's series finale at Progressive Field that the fleet-footed leadoff man will not return to the White Sox without a little prior game experience.

"He cannot come here without getting some at-bats," said Guillen of Owens, who could come off the disabled list Tuesday, a scheduled off-day for the White Sox. "He's not that good. He's got to go out there and do what everybody else has to do.

"It's one thing to be on rehab and one thing to be playing good. You can tell me, 'I'm ready to go,' and all of the sudden you didn't even get a hit yet or you didn't swing the bat good."

Getting at-bats during extended Spring Training, against kids, as Guillen pointed out, won't be enough for Owens to get acclimated to the tough pitching the White Sox will be facing over the next week. With their Minor League seasons beginning on Thursday night, Guillen would rather Owens to play for Triple-A Charlotte or Double-A Birmingham.

Of greatest importance to Guillen is having Owens back for the long haul. The White Sox want to make sure he's completely healthy and not back on Tuesday but gone a week or two later.

"We don't have a set date for him to come back. I haven't even heard from him or from the trainers [in Arizona]," said Guillen of Owens. "We have to see how he's doing. He has to come back here 100 percent.

"I don't want him to be here playing every other day, because he's sore. We have plenty of guys here that can cover that situation.

"When he comes back, we'll make the decision what kind of move we'll make with the roster," Guillen added. "I think the guys that don't help us, they're the one that's going to go down. Right now, I don't have any idea how we're going to do it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.