Wolf back in LA after forgettable year

Wolf back in LA after forgettable year

LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't the same kind of homecoming Randy Wolf experienced last season, though he's convinced it was the next best thing.

Had things gone differently, the native of Los Angeles might have been pitching against the Padres this weekend at Dodger Stadium instead of being in the visiting dugout where he was Friday.

A year ago, Wolf was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won nine games in the first half of the season for the team he grew up rooting for. He slept in his own bed each night and drove himself to the stadium.

But Wolf experienced soreness in his left shoulder in July and didn't pitch again in 2007 as he eventually needed surgery in September to clean up minor fraying of the bursa and labrum.

The Dodgers declined their $9 million option on Wolf after the season, thus ending his homecoming after just one season.

"I think there was some [remorse]," Wolf said on Friday. "In the offseason, I wanted to come back to L.A. since it's my hometown. But I saw that it wasn't going to happen, so I moved on."

Wolf signed a one-year free-agent deal with the Padres on Dec. 12 worth $4 million and embraced his new surroundings, which weren't entirely too new since he still got to stay in Southern California.

Wolf also embraced his new teammates, coaches and staff, starting immediately in Spring Training.

"The situation I'm in here, I'm more than happy here. The teammates I have, the city and everything. ... It's been a great choice. Looking back on it now, I couldn't be happier," said Wolf, who has a 2.25 ERA after two starts with no decisions.

After playing the first 10 years of his professional career in the Phillies organization, the left-hander signed with the Dodgers in November of 2006 for one year and $8 million.

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"It was a fun experience to be able to wake up in your own house, sleep in our own bed," Wolf said. "When you have an off-day, you're at home, especially when I played so long on the other side of the country. To do that here was pretty cool."

But the second half of the season wasn't much fun for Wolf, who finished the season 9-6 with an ERA of 4.73 in 18 games. He didn't appear in a game after July 2.

"It was fun, but it was also frustrating the last three months when the team wasn't doing well and I wasn't able to do anything to help them but sit and watch," said Wolf, who won't pitch in this series. "But when I was healthy, I had a good time."

Wolf has appeared in 17 games in his career at Dodger Stadium, with most of the games coming when he was a member of the Phillies from 1999-2006. But Wolf's ties to games at Dodger Stadium go back further than that.

He helped El Camino Real High School to consecutive city titles in 1993-94. He got the save in the 1993 title game and started the 1994 title game.

Wolf still makes his offseason home in Hollywood, though his house is currently being renovated.

"I'm kind of a vagabond right now," Wolf said, smiling.

In his hometown, of all places.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.