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05/05/08 9:47 PM ET

Gabbard to start Thursday vs. Mariners

Left-hander says he's ready to return from disabled list

SEATTLE -- Kason Gabbard is ready to return to the Rangers rotation, and it looks like Scott Feldman will stay in it as well.

Gabbard, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, rejoined the Rangers on Monday, two days after his rehab start for Double-A Frisco. Gabbard threw in the bullpen before Monday's game against the Mariners and pronounced himself ready to pitch again.

He'll start on Thursday against the Mariners in the finale of the four-game series here at Safeco Field.

"That sharp pain isn't there anymore," Gabbard said. "There's still a little stiffness in the morning when I wake up, but when I come to the ballpark and do all my work, it loosens up. In my side today it felt great."

The Rangers still need a starter for Friday against the Athletics, and both Feldman and A.J. Murray pitched well enough to merit consideration. But the Rangers appear to be leaning toward Feldman. Murray will likely go back to pitching every fifth day at Triple-A Oklahoma.

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