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T.R. Sullivan backing off Wright story?

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Yesterday, T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers were making Jamey Wright their 5th starter.

Today, in the game notes, he appears to be backing off on that just a tad:

Kameron Loe has proven one thing this spring. He deserves to be on a Major League pitching staff after outpitching every other fifth starter candidate in camp.

"There's no doubt in my mind," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's had the best performance of any pitcher in camp."

Loe's terrific spring continued on Sunday, as he held the Chicago White Sox to two runs on five singles in six innings in a 10-2 victory at Tucson Electric Park. It's the longest outing by a Rangers starter this month and Loe now has a 0.92 ERA for the spring.

He will be on the Rangers' Opening Day roster. He made it clear that he wants it to be as a starter.

"I'm kind of stubborn," Loe said. "I'll be disappointed if I don't get that role, but I'll still be happy to be in the big leagues and help this team win."

Forces conspire against him. The Rangers love Loe but see reasons why Jamey Wright should be the fifth starter. Loe could be more valuable as a long/middle reliever, especially in April when the fifth starter could only make three starts. Wright could also take his free agency if he's not added to the 40-man roster by Wednesday.

The Rangers have talked about keeping their depth. They have talked about taking the best team. They have talked about having a bullpen that is a competitive advantage. They've talked about having a pitching staff that pounds the strike zone.

Loe fits somewhere in every scenario.

"There's been a lot of competition in camp to this point, but Kameron Loe deserves a lot of credit for the way he's gone about his business," Washington said.

I've been lukewarm on Jamey Wright as the #5 starter this spring. He isn't my top choice, but I figure, it would be that bad to go with him.

But the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking going with Wright would be wrong. Kam Loe should be the #5 starter.

Part of it is what Ron Washington said -- the guy has had the best camp of anyone this spring. He's gone out, game in and game out, and performed throughout camp.

And that's after posting a 2.70 ERA as a starter in 2005. And after posting a 3.68 ERA last spring.

And while everyone paints Loe as a bust as a starter in 2006, the reality is, he was strong for the first couple of months. After beating the ChiSox on June 2, Loe had a 4.48 ERA in 68 1/3 innings, through 12 starts. Loe had been up-and-done, and wasn't going real deep into games, but had been a solid back-of-the-rotation starter for the Rangers last year.

And then, the wheels came off. Right after being the pallbearer at the funeral of a friend, Loe allowed 8 runs in 2 2/3 innings at Kansas City, blowing up his ERA by almost a run. Loe allowed 9 runs in 7 1/3 innings in his next two starts, then went on the d.l., and never made it back to the majors last year.

When he's been in the rotation, Kam Loe has performed. Take away that one outing against the Royals, when he had circumstances about as extenuating as you'll get, and he's got a 4.33 ERA for the Rangers as a starter in 23 games.

And he was told to come to camp this year and compete for the #5 starter job, and he's answered the bell.

I can understand the thought process behind keeping Wright in the rotation, and putting Loe in the pen. And maybe part of Loe going to the pen to start the season would be because the #5 starter will only get 3 starts in April, to allow Loe to have a more regular role and provide some insurance for Robinson Tejeda and Brandon McCarthy.

But you know, the more I mull this over, I've just got a real hard time telling a guy, who was told he'd be competing for the 5th starter spot, that he's been the best pitcher in camp, but he's losing out to a 32 year old career journeyman who is here on an NRI.

Kam Loe should be the Rangers' 5th starter. And if they want to keep Jamey Wright around for depth, he can be the long man in the bullpen.

It shouldn't be the other way around.