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Feliz looking at extended rehab assignment

Blanks could return to Rangers without getting in Minor League work

KANSAS CITY -- Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz is expected to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Round Rock by pitching an inning on Saturday night.

He could be at Triple-A for an extended period, even though he has only been sidelined since May 20 after undergoing a procedure to remove an abscess from his right side.

The Rangers want Feliz to be healthy. But they also want him to be effective again.

"We will take it outing by outing," manager Jeff Banister said. "He has made some adjustments in his delivery and his setup, so we want to see how he takes to that and feels about it."

Feliz had a 5.09 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP before going on the disabled list. He also had three blown saves and had been taken out of the closer's role.

"There is no need to fast-track him back," Banister said. "We have some guys throwing the ball well out of the bullpen. This allows Neftali to do the things he needs to do so when he gets back, he is close to being the dominating guy we have seen in the past."

The Rangers are taking a different tact with first baseman Kyle Blanks. He has also been on the disabled list since May 20 after having a Pilondal cyst removed from his backside. He has been taking batting practice, but the Rangers aren't planning to send him on a rehab assignment.

Instead he is on the road trip with the Rangers and could be activated at some point either in Kansas City or Oakland. Blanks isn't ready to be used in the outfield, but he could be an option at first base, designated hitter or as a bat off the bench.

"He might be a player for us in the near future as long as his legs feel good," Banister said. "I don't think [a rehab assignment] is a necessity as long as his lower half is ready and his legs feel good. He has been able to swing the bat the entire time. In talking to Kyle, the swing is there and the hands and eyes are there. He looks good in batting practice."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.
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