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Notes: Loe likely done for season

Notes: Loe likely done for season

OAKLAND -- Kameron Loe's season is coming to a quiet end. He is second on the team in innings pitched and games started, but he may not pitch again this season.

Loe is sidelined with inflammation in his right elbow and, with two weeks to go in the season, he is not close to being able to pitch in a game. He played catch on Friday and Saturday, took Sunday off and will try again on Monday in Minnesota.

"It was better yesterday than it was the day before," Loe said. "I'm able to throw pain-free at about 80 percent, but I can't let it loose yet. As of right now, I'm not putting any pressure on my body to get back. If I get back, then I get back. If my elbow doesn't let me get back, then I'll just take the offseason."

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If he pitches again this season, it will likely be in relief, as manager Ron Washington said that he is planning to stick with his current rotation right to the end.

That's also how the Rangers are planning to open next season: Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Kason Gabbard and Edinson Volquez. Right now Loe is projected as a reliever, and he knows that, even if he still has his hopes on being a starter.

"I'm going to have to battle for it," Loe said. "I just hope they don't go out and fill up all the spots that aren't tied up. I want to be a starter. I know I can be a reliever, but I also know I can be a starter."

Loe has been better as a reliever. He is 13-19 with a 5.08 ERA in 47 career starts and 5-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 46 relief appearances. He did make some strides as a starter, and he did have his moments.

Loe developed a better changeup and a better breaking ball to go with his sinking fastball. He won four straight games right before the All-Star break, with a 1.95 ERA, but he is 1-5 with a 5.36 ERA in eight starts since then. Overall, he is 6-11 with a 5.36 ERA in 28 games, including 23 starts.

"If you look at my numbers and my ERA, it looks bad," he said. "But because of six or seven innings, it doesn't look like a good year, but I accomplished some things. I've mixed in a [cut fastball], and my changeup is better. I've learned to strike out some guys. I don't want to blame my bad numbers on anything, but there are a lot of things out of my control. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody, but it was an unfortunate year for several of us."

Laird scratched: Gerald Laird was a last-minute scratch from the lineup on Sunday because of a sore right knee. He is listed as day-to-day, and Jarrod Saltamacchia, who was supposed to have the day off, started at catcher.

Rooting for the Red Sox: September is not meaningless for all of the Rangers. Kason Gabbard still has a shot at both some playoff money and a World Series ring.

Gabbard, acquired from Boston on July 31, can get both if the Red Sox win the World Series. Yes, he is paying attention as his former team goes down the stretch.

"It would be awesome," Gabbard said. "I'm pulling for them. I've got a lot of friends over there, and I'm just as much of a fan as anybody. I'm also hoping Dustin Pedroia gets Rookie of the Year. He deserves it."

Gabbard's contribution to the Red Sox was not insignificant. He was 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA in seven starts before being traded to the Rangers. Pedro Astacio pitched just five games for the Red Sox in 2004 and still received a ring when they won the World Series.

"I think it's up to the team, but I would love one," Gabbard said.

Third-base platoon: With Oakland left-hander Lenny DiNardo on the mound, Travis Metcalf made his second start at third base on Sunday, but Ramon Vazquez will be back there with a right-hander pitching for the Twins on Monday.

With Hank Blalock not ready to play the field, Washington said that he is going to stick with his platoon at third base the rest of the way. That attitude reflects the respect that Washington has for Vazquez and the job he has done this season.

Washington sees Vazquez back next year as the Rangers' utility infielder.

"I think he has been awesome," Washington said. "He has come up here and helped us in multiple situations and got some big hits. He's a professional. He has done a great job for us."

He said it: "I have the same answer. I'll keep playing catch, and when my arm feels better, I'll play third base." --Blalock, who is still limited to designated hitter duty because of a sore arm

Briefly: McCarthy has two starts left this season, and Washington said he'll likely continue to pitch in Instructional League to get his innings total up. ... Millwood, who leads the Rangers with 152 innings, has three starts left, and the Rangers will be without a starter with at least 200 innings for only the third time in a non-strike season. Jim Bibby had 180 1/3 innings in 1973, and Kenny Rogers had 195 1/3 innings in 2005.

Up next: The Rangers open a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Volquez will make his fourth start for the Rangers against Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey.

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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