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Teahen rehab could go the distance

Mark Teahen will see time and first base and right field when he returns to the White Sox. Ron Vesely/MLB Photos/Getty Images

BALTIMORE -- The White Sox don’t appear to be in any hurry to bring Mark Teahen back to the roster.

Teahen, who has been on a minor-league rehab assignment since July 31, is recovering from a fractured right middle finger that required surgery to repair.

Baseball rules allow position players to remain in the minor leagues for 20 days on a rehab assignment, and the White Sox seem intent on using most, if not all, of that time.

It would seem the White Sox are more comfortable with having Dayan Viciedo and Brent Lillibridge on the roster than Teahen, but officially that isn’t what the team is saying. When Teahen comes back he will play right field and first base in addition to some games at third, and the Sox want to get him used to each position. That is the reason his return will take longer than usual.

“If he’s playing one position, then it’s probably less time because he’s probably focused on one defensive position,” general manager Ken Williams said. “It’s just not the work you’re getting in at the position, it’s balls hit in the game that you’re getting. The balls that slice away from you in right field; the balls that cut on you, like the ball on [Paul] Konerko that spun [Saturday].

“Those are balls you can’t simulate in a ground ball session. You got to simulate those in the games. And it’s been a while since he’s been over there. He was over at third base last time you saw him. There’s no rush.”

Teahen was injured on May 30 when fielding a ground ball at Tampa Bay and went on the disabled list two days later. He was batting just .255 at the time with eight errors, but his hitting had been improving. He is batting .421 (7 for 17) on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte (before play Sunday) with two RBIs. He got his first action in right field on Saturday.

If Teahen completes the entire rehab stay without a setback, he would return to the White Sox on Aug. 20. The White Sox would then likely send down Viciedo, but not for long. He would return in 11 days when rosters are expanded.

Teahen also has played left field and second base in his big-league career, but the White Sox won’t be asking him to play those positions. Because he won’t be an option at second base, Lillibridge figures to stay on the roster to give the team a backup option at second base.