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Gabbard could start on Thursday

Gabbard could start on Thursday

OAKLAND -- Kason Gabbard appears ready to rejoin the Rangers' rotation. The team just needs to decide who will follow him, and A.J. Murray could be the guy.

The Rangers liked what they saw and heard from both on Saturday night.

Gabbard, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, threw 65 pitches on a medical rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Frisco on Saturday. Pitching against Midland, Gabbard allowed one run on one hit and three walks while striking out six over four innings.

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He'll rejoin the Rangers and have a bullpen throwing session on Monday. If that goes well, he'll start on Thursday against the Mariners at Safeco Field.

"Everything was good," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "He felt fine, no problems. I talked with him at length last week and told him to be honest with us. We don't need a hero. It's his career, he needs to take care of it. I don't think he'd lie to us if he wasn't ready."

The Rangers still need a starter for Friday, and they're considering an encore performance for Murray, who was the winning pitcher in Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Athletics. The Rangers play the Athletics again on Friday in Arlington, and Murray could get that start. It will be either him or Scott Feldman.

The Rangers want a left-hander for the Athletics, even if Murray has to face them in consecutive starts.

"He did a great job; he has to be considered," manager Ron Washington said. "I'd have no problem with that if he goes out there with the same stuff. If it has to be A.J., it has to be A.J."

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

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