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Willingham eyeing Friday return against Sox

Willingham eyeing Friday return against Sox

Willingham eyeing Friday return against Sox

KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Josh Willingham, who was originally expected to return to the Twins on Saturday, is now a candidate to return for Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the White Sox.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Willingham is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 11:30 a.m. CT on Friday, and could play in the second game of the doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field. Willingham, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 3, officially began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Monday, going 0-for-3 with a walk.

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"There's a possibility we could activate him in between games," Antony said. "We just need a shot in the arm. He could be a little bit better of an alternative for us for the second game on Friday. We had four hits last night [in a 13-0 loss to the Royals]. If we can find somebody else who can provide some offense for us, we're open to that, too."

Willingham will be joined by a starting pitcher, as the Twins have yet to announce who will start the second game of the twinbill with rookie Kyle Gibson set to start the first game. Right-hander Liam Hendriks remains the most likely candidate to get called up for the start, but the Twins won't make an official announcement until Wednesday.

The Twins will be able to call up a 26th player because of the doubleheader, but will have to make a corresponding roster move once Willingham is activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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