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Feliciano begins rehab assignment in GCL

08/10/2012 12:30 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Pedro Feliciano last pitched in the Majors in 2010.(AP)
Pedro Feliciano hasn’t thrown an “official” pitch for the New York Yankees as of yet, but nearly 20 months after signing his Yankees contract, the 35-year-old left-hander is once again officially on his way towards doing so.

After missing most of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries, Feliciano began a rehab assignment on Friday morning with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees – and the lefty was somewhat impressive in his debut against the GCL Tigers, pitching one inning and allowing one hit and one walk while striking out the side.

Feliciano found himself in a bit of trouble after allowing a leadoff walk and a one-out double to put runners on second and third, but he fanned the next two Tigers swinging to end the scoreless frame.

Friday’s appearance begins a 30-day rehab clock on Feliciano, which means that if he comes through the next few weeks without any setbacks, he could join the Yankees’ active roster for the first time sometime in early-to-mid-September.

"He might become someone who's available to us," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of Feliciano on Tuesday. "We'll have to see."

The Yankees hold a 2013 club option on Feliciano, so a September debut could serve as an audition for 2013 – both with the Yankees and in general.

Either way, it would represent the successful navigation of a lengthy comeback road for a man once considered one of the best lefty specialists in baseball.

Signed to a two-year, $8 million deal prior to the 2011 season, Feliciano was placed on the disabled list during Spring Training that year because of shoulder soreness. He tried to rehab what was eventually diagnosed as a torn capsule and rotator cuff in his left shoulder – even making one appearance in the GCL last July – but eventually was shut down, and had surgery to repair the tears last September.

Feliciano, who will be 36 on August 25, pitched for the Mets from 2002-2010, going 22-19 with a 3.31 ERA in 459 appearances out of the bullpen. Feliciano led the National League in appearances in each of his final three years with the Mets, and compiled a 3.30 ERA in 62 2/3 innings pitched over 92 games in 2010.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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