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04/11/08 10:22 PM ET

Nomar to begin rehab assignment

Dodgers infielder to join Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday

LOS ANGELES -- Disabled Dodgers third baseman Nomar Garciaparra will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday in Sacramento, the final step in his return from a broken hand.

Garciaparra suffered the injury March 7, when he was struck by a fastball from Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan. Manager Joe Torre said the number of games Garciaparra needs will be determined as he plays. Garciaparra likely will begin with a game as designated hitter, but Torre said he will need to also play third base.

"He needs to get in game shape and play the field before he comes back here," Torre said, indicating a week of Minor League games would be a reasonable guess.

Barring injury to another infielder, Garciaparra's return will probably be accompanied by the return of rookie Blake DeWitt to the Minor Leagues. DeWitt is hitting .250 and has made all of the defensive plays after becoming the surprise Opening Day starter.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.