ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to Friday night's game against the Rays, the White Sox reinstated outfielder Jerry Owens from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him back to Triple-A Charlotte, where he had been on a rehab assignment.

"We're playing well right now," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We are not going to break the ballclub just because somebody's ready to go."

So far this season, Guillen has opted to go with the club's hot hands, and the White Sox have enjoyed a favorable 9-6 start.

"We would like to have Jerry Owens, obviously, but the people right now that are here, they're doing their job and that's important," he added.

Owens was placed on the disabled list on March 29, retroactive to March 24, with a partial tear of his right adductor. He injured his groin in an intrasquad game Feb. 25, and the injury flared up again while the 27-year-old was running the bases in a Spring Training game on March 23.

In the six games Owens played on his rehab assignment, he batted .280 with three stolen bases for the Knights.

As a rookie in 2007, Owens hit .267 with one home run and 17 RBIs. His 32 stolen bases were tops among Major League rookies and ranked eighth overall in the American League.

Although Owens' speed as a leadoff batter will be missed (the Sox have only two stolen bases in 15 games), Guillen has stressed the importance of on-base percentage instead.

With the move, Nick Swisher will remain in center field and Carlos Quentin will continue seeing significant playing time in left. Swisher is batting .265 with an .413 OBP, while Quentin has posted a .370 OBP with four home runs, including two in Thursday night's game.

Guillen also noted that the move isn't necessarily permanent for Owens, who he said was "cool" about the situation. The skipper said the club would discuss whether there is a need for the outfielder on the Major League squad when it travels home to Chicago following Sunday's game against the Rays.