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Victorino, Middlebrooks ramping back up

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PHILADELPHIA -- Though Shane Victorino had to spend his return to Philadelphia on the disabled list, he was at least making progress with the left hamstring strain that has sidelined him since May 20.

The outfielder could start a short Minor League rehab assignment as early as this weekend, putting him in position to be activated June 5 against the Rangers.

"We're hopeful," said manager John Farrell. "Hopeful meaning either when we get to New York sometime in that weekend, we'd like to get at least a couple of days in games before [June 5] rolls around. The fact is, his baseball activity ramps up. He's feeling good. He's swinging the bat. Ran today and things are moving in the right direction."

The same can be said for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who should return on June 8, when the Red Sox play the middle game of a three-game series against the Angels.

Middlebrooks has been dealing with a lower back strain.

"Dry swings today," said Farrell. "He did some running outside. Even the last couple of days, he's been taking some throws on the infield and feels like things have really quieted down in his lower back. We feel like he's on schedule for that June 8 activation as well."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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