Jones, Beckham in holding pattern

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are optimistic they will start moving forward with injured players Nate Jones and Gordon Beckham.

Jones had a gluteus muscle strain during spring training and a hip strain that put him on the disabled list at the start of the season. But the White Sox now seem to have gotten to the root of the issue after an MRI exam this week.

"He had an MRI the other day and it seems the source of his issue is in his lower back, which is a little different," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We had mostly mentioned the glute. The glute was probably radiating from the back issue. He did receive an epidural earlier in the week. He feels much better, which is good."

Jones could get his rehab jump-started by beginning baseball activity in a few days, according to Hahn.

Beckham remained out of the lineup at Double-A Birmingham on Thursday as his rehab assignment is on hold.

Beckham, who suffered an oblique injury during spring training, felt discomfort before a game at Birmingham on Friday and hasn't played since. He went hitless one night earlier in the only rehab game he has played to date.

"There's a chance he returns in the next few days," Hahn said. "He was re-evaluated by our doctor in Birmingham. We think things are calming down. He's going to start swinging again today and hopefully work his way back into the lineup in the coming days."

There remains no timetable on the second baseman's return. Only when Beckham returns to seeing live pitching again will the White Sox have an expectation on when he might return to the major leagues.

Utility man Jeff Keppinger, who started the season on the disabled list because of a shoulder issue, played three innings of an extended spring training game Wednesday but still needs more time before starting a rehab assignment.