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08/23/08 4:46 PM ET

Crede struggling in rehab assignment

Third baseman working his way back from back injury

CHICAGO -- Joe Crede's return to the White Sox is only a matter of time.

On the 15-day disabled list since July 25 with back lumbar inflammation, Crede just needs to prove that he's ready to play. His rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte was put on hold after one start on Aug. 1 because of stiffness in his back, but he has now played three more games with the Knights, including back-to-back games Thursday and Friday.

Crede is 0-for-12 in the four games he's played with Charlotte, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the third baseman is physically ready to go.

"Crede is fine," Guillen said. "I just got a message from [athletic trainer Herm Schneider] and he says [Crede is swinging] the bat well. His back feels great. But it's going to be up to [general manager] Kenny [Williams] how many at-bats he needs to get down in the Minor Leagues."

After more at-bats and some positive signs at the plate, Guillen said Crede will be ready.

"If you can't hit in the Minor Leagues, I don't know about here," Guillen said. "I want to see him perform. If you go 0-for-20 in the Minor Leagues, you're not going to come to the big leagues and be ready to go. Nobody's that good. When he's ready, he's gonna be here."

Guillen also took the time to clarify comments he made previously about Crede not starting when he gets back due to the job Juan Uribe has done at third.

Uribe has played excellent defense in Crede's stead and has hit .354 with a .563 slugging percentage since Aug. 10.

"I think people misunderstood my message to Joe," Guillen said. "If Joe Crede is ready to play, ready to perform, then he is my third baseman. Nobody loves Joe Crede more than me -- I've stuck up for this kid all my life. But he has to be [healthy]."

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.