Beckham starts rehab assignment

CHICAGO – Gordon Beckham began a rehab assignment Thursday night at Double-A Birmingham as he continues his recovery from a strained left oblique muscle.

The second baseman has been out of action since mid-March, when the injury first surfaced as he took swings in the batting cage at the team’s spring-training complex in Glendale, Ariz. While there is no timetable for Beckham's return, he is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday.

The 27-year-old former first-round draft pick missed about a third of the schedule last season with various injuries, most notably a broken bone in his hand.

The career .249 hitter, who finished fifth in the 2009 rookie-of-the-year voting, has just one more year of arbitration eligibility and is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season.