Tomorrow’s notebook

The Wolf saga in more detail and a couple of other things

By Tony Jackson
Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO — Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf’s last-ditch effort to return from the disabled list before the end of the season has been snuffed out by another setback. The left-hander felt more discomfort in his shoulder this week and will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic to determine the cause.
The development casts Wolf’s future into doubt, especially given that he spurned a handful of multi-year offers last winter to accept a one-year contract with his hometown Dodgers.
“Obviously, I took a huge risk to come here,” Wolf said. “I knew it was a risk, but I took a gamble, and I lost. Life is full of them.”
The Dodgers hold a $9 million option on Wolf for next season that they clearly aren’t going to exercise, which will leave him in the unenviable position of being a free agent after a season in which injury prevented him from pitching after the All-Star break. But Wolf also is a veteran lefty with a proven track record, so there is a strong chance some team — perhaps even the Dodgers — will take a chance on him at a much lower price.
“I really have no idea,” Wolf said. “I’m in unchartered waters.”
Wolf had reconstructive elbow surgery two seasons ago, but proved he was healthy last summer when he came back and pitched well in 12 starts for Philadelphia. But before he had that surgery, he had undergone an MRI exam that failed to show the need for it, so for a while he tried to pitch through his elbow discomfort. Wolf speculated that his current shoulder injury might be the result of a mechanical change he made to accommodate the elbow pain before it was discovered that he would need Tommy John surgery.
If Drs. Lewis Yocum and Neal ElAttrache find the cause of Wolf’s discomfort, they will repair it immediately. But no prognosis for Wolf’s return to the mound will be known until after the surgery.
“If it’s only an impingement, which we think it is, he’ll be down six to eight weeks,” Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said.
Wolf was less optimistic.
“If they find nothing, I’ll be surprised,” he said. “It’s just too weird. I haven’t thrown (off a mound) in four weeks, and it still isn’t right. Usually you feel better after four weeks of not throwing.”

Getting close: Dodgers manager Grady Little said that although Nomar Garciaparra (strained left calf) still hasn’t felt good enough to try running, he has looked good enough in batting practice that he might be activated for pinch-hitting purposes as soon as today, when active rosters can be expanded to as many as 40 players.
“He really looks good swinging the bat and fielding ground balls, too,” Little said. “But he still feels a little something in there (running), and we don’t want to push it until he feels comfortable.”

Also: Newly acquired right-hander Esteban Loaiza will make his Dodgers debut on Monday at Chicago, with Brad Penny starting on Tuesday night against the Cubs and the rest of the rotation staying in order thereafter. … Lefty Eric Stults was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear a roster spot for Loaiza, but Stults is expected to return to the majors after the 51s’ season concludes on Monday … The Dodgers are expected to promote some players from Las Vegas today and some more on Monday. If Double-A Jacksonville reaches the Southern Leaue playoffs, none of the Suns’ players will be promoted until their season ends.

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