Andres Blanco (back) returns to DL

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers cleared the way for Alexi Ogando’s start on the mound tonight by placing reserve infielder Andres Blanco on the 15-day disabled list.

Blanco said his lower back remains the problem, but now the injury is a muscle.

“Sometimes you hurt something else when you try to be careful with an injury,’’ said Blanco, who originally went on the disabled list on July 8 with a stress reaction in his lower back.

The switch-hitting Blanco said he believes his latest injury was caused by taking left-handed swings.

“They want me to rest it and get 100 percent ready,’’ Blanco said.

Said manager Ron Washington: “The injury has been there. It didn’t just pop up. But this one is a little different than the first time he went on the DL. We need to get him right.’’

Blanco played as a defensive replacement for Michael Young in the final two innings of Monday’s 9-2 win over Seattle. Blanco has made 14 starts at shortstop this season and one each at second and third base. He’s batting .206 with two home runs.

Ogando returns after a three-day paternity leave.