Dodgers' Wolf filling workhorse role

Dodgers' Wolf filling workhorse role

LOS ANGELES -- Randy Wolf, who has lasted at least seven innings in each of his past three starts, continues to be an innings eater.

While it's gone largely unnoticed, Wolf leads the club with 162 2/3 innings pitched this season and is poised to start at least 30 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2002-03.

Not bad for a guy who's battled injuries for about half of the decade.

"This August, I feel great, I've felt good all year," Wolf, who starts on Friday, said before Thursday's game. "Last year, I felt really good, too. I felt that I was strongest at the end of the year."

Despite his history with injuries -- he missed a chunk of each season from 2004-07 -- Wolf said he wasn't concerned at the begging of the season about getting hurt again.

"Not at all, because '04, '05, '06 was all because of one injury," Wolf said, referring to a left elbow problem that required Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in '05. "That's three years with one injury that was flushed down the toilet."

Helping to eliminate any doubts was Wolf's strong 2008 campaign with San Diego and Houston after shoulder problems that required surgery shortened his 2007 season with the Dodgers.

Wolf went 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 2008, highlighted by a 6-2 record with the Astros in the second half.

Wolf said that last year proved that he still could put together a 200-inning season, which he currently is on pace to record.

"I think I'm on the best pace of my career, as far as innings," he said. "The only thing that I think about is being consistent, and I feel that for the most part I've done that this year. ... I don't think I've been consistently great, but I think I've been consistently good. And I'll take that."

He'll also take the $500,000 bonus he'll earn once he eclipses 170 innings for the season. The one-year contract Wolf signed on Feb. 6 included $5 million guaranteed and a $500,000 incentive linked to each of these innings totals: 170, 180, 185, 190, 195 and 200.

His successful back-to-back seasons could do enough to earn Wolf a multiyear deal after the season. Wolf's had a one-year contract for each of the past three seasons.

"That's up to them," Wolf said. "I know the past two years it's a pretty good sign that I get stronger as the year goes on."

Wolf said he'd love to remain in Los Angeles, and that it's important for him to find a place he can stay long term.

"I'd like to in be a spot for a while to know where I'm going to be every year and have that identity with a team -- with an organization," Wolf said. "There's a piece of mind that comes a long with that, but that's not entirely up to me."

Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Randy Wolf (7-6, 3.43 ERA)
Wolf restored order in the wake of Hiroki Kuroda's frightening incident and a bitter extra-inning loss. He took a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning for his ninth quality start in his past 10 outings. He struck out a season-high 10 without a walk, effectively spotting both his fastball and slow curve, and he added his fifth career home run. He's 4-7 lifetime against the Cubs.

CHC: RHP Randy Wells (9-5, 3.01 ERA)
Wells had his worst start of the season on Aug. 9 against the Rockies but bounced back against the Pirates on Friday. He benefited from 17 runs of support, throwing six innings and giving up two runs on seven hits. The rookie has won nine of his past 11 starts behind a two-seam fastball that produces many ground balls and makes up for a lack of strikeouts. Wells has held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 18 starts.

As a part of the Dodgers' ThinkCure! Radiotelewebethon, four Dodgers and their wives will be live on PRIME TICKET beginning at 2 p.m. PT to talk about their own family's cancer stories. Andre and Maggie Ethier, Mariano and Monique Duncan, Casey and Abbie Blake and Mark and Hilary Loretta will be on at that time. Later in the afternoon Russell Martin and his girlfriend, Marikym Hervieux, will talk about their stories involving cancer. Doug and Jodi Mientkiewicz will do the same. ... Martin's grand slam Thursday was the second of his career and the fifth grand slam by a Dodgers player this season. ... With the win, the Dodgers remain two games in front of the Phillies for the National League's best record.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Dodgers (Charlie Haeger, 0-1, 3.86) vs. Cubs (Ted Lilly, 9-7, 3.42), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 12-6, 3.70) vs. Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 6-7, 4.28), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Off-day

David Ely is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.