PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Chicago White Sox third baseman Joe Crede was to have back surgery Tuesday and his return to the lineup is uncertain.
Crede was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of lower back inflammation last Wednesday. He was scheduled for surgery in Los Angeles, but the team hadn't received an update on his condition before Tuesday night's game against the Phillies.
It's possible Crede could miss anywhere from two months to the rest of the season.
``When you have surgery right now, it's like nothing,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``You go through a couple months of rehab on your way back and sometimes you feel better. It's a shame we had to wait this long to make that happen because if he did it when he was supposed to do it, then right now we'd have a different surgery.''
Oakland A's outfielder Mark Kotsay had lower back surgery in March and returned on June 1.
``In the past, it's like 50-50 to play,'' Guillen said. ``Now, with those kinds of surgeries, he comes back before the season's over.''
The 29-year-old Crede has a history of back problems, and it has been a nagging issue all season. After deciding not to have offseason surgery to repair two herniated disks, he was hitting .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs - a steep drop from last year when he batted .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs.
``He thought he could play through it and now he found out he can't,'' Guillen said. ``Believe me, it's a tough thing. We need him. I think the main reason he played through the pain was because he wanted to be part of the ballclub, and unfortunately it couldn't happen.''
Rookie Josh Fields has replaced Crede as the regular third baseman. A top prospect, Fields was batting .283 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs at Triple-A Charlotte. He had just three hits in his first 21 at-bats with the White Sox.
``Defensively, he's never going to be Joe Crede. Offensively, the kid's got speed,'' Guillen said. ``He's been a good hitter in the past. He's got a big opportunity.''

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