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Victorino ready for Minors rehab assignment

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CHICAGO -- The Red Sox are getting closer to being able to field their whole lineup together for the first time this season. Right fielder Shane Victorino, who started the season on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, will start a Minor League rehab assignment on Saturday.

Victorino will most likely play at Triple-A Pawtucket. He will take a down day on Sunday, and then play again on Monday and Tuesday.

It's possible Victorino could be activated by Wednesday or Thursday, when the Red Sox finish their homestand against the Yankees.

If not, he should certainly be ready by April 25, when the Sox start a three-game series in Toronto.

As for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who remains on the shelf with a right calf strain, his potential return is now being complicated by a case of the flu.

Middlebrooks was sent back to Boston on Thursday. He had been working out with the team.

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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