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Valley/Ventura County Sports | BASEBALL / DAVE DESMOND

MTV or ESPN, the Phillies Feel Wolf Is Letter-Perfect

April 25, 1999|DAVE DESMOND

Randy Wolf might be the Philadelphia Phillies' top pitching prospect, but it's more likely you'll see him on MTV before ESPN.

The former El Camino Real High left-hander was used as a ringer by a team of entertainment stars against a group of major leaguers in the annual Rock 'n Jocks baseball game that debuted on the cable music station April 10.

The game, taped at Blair Field in Long Beach last January, will continue to air on MTV periodically.

Wolf entered the game with his team trailing, 4-2, and eventually earned the victory, but not before hitting perennial all-star Ken Griffey Jr. in the shoulder with a fastball.

Chin Music Television?

"He was not happy at all," said Wolf, who also brushed back the next batter, third baseman Robin Ventura of the New York Mets. "You could tell by the look on [Griffey's] face that he was not at all a happy camper."

No one on either team recognized Wolf as a professional baseball player, but that kind of anonymity figures to change in the near future.

With ace Curt Schilling reportedly on the trading block and fourth and fifth starters Paul Byrd and Paul Spoljaric yielding a total of 27 runs in their first 27 innings, fans in Philadelphia are calling for Wolf's promotion from the triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons.

General Manager Ed Wade of the Phillies was in Scranton, Pa., earlier this week and told local media he will not rush Wolf, and intends to leave him at triple A the rest of the season.

He enters a start today against Ottawa with a 3-0 record and 0.95 earned-run average. He has struck out 21 and allowed 12 hits in 19 innings.

Wolf, Philadelphia's No. 2 pick in 1997, was named the International League's pitcher of the week earlier this month.

"I think he's probably here only temporarily," said teammate Torey Lovullo, formerly of Montclair Prep. "He's got poise, composure, savvy, all the things you would want in a pitcher. He'll be a great big league pitcher one day. I have no doubt."

Wolf isn't losing any sleep waiting for the call.

"All that stuff is out of my control," he said. "There are all these predictions people are giving, but they don't mean a thing to me. You can't pay any attention to it if you want to maintain your sanity."

*

Wolf and Ryan McGuire, two of the best players to come out of El Camino Real, will face each other today.

McGuire, a member of the Montreal Expos' organization, is batting .245 for Ottawa.

Wolf and McGuire, who never played together at El Camino Real, played against each other for the first time earlier this month.

McGuire was two for three, but Wolf and Scranton-Wilkes Barre won the game.

*

Lovullo has spent more time in the International League than some of the owners.

Scranton-Wilkes Barre is his fifth team in the league.

He also played for Toledo, Columbus, Ottawa and, most recently, Buffalo, where he batted .326 with 17 home runs and 65 runs batted in last season for the Cleveland Indians' affiliate.

Lovullo has worn six major league uniforms, playing for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Angels, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians.

"I think it's because I'm so popular," said Lovullo, who is batting .314 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

"Everybody seems to want me."

*

Rich Aude, the Pittsburgh Pirates' starting first baseman in 1995, is attempting to resurrect his career in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Aude, 27, Pittsburgh's second-round selection out of Chatsworth High in 1989, signed with Chicago after spending the last year in baseball oblivion, otherwise known as Atlantic City of the independent Atlantic League.

He was with the Pirates in 1993, '95 and '96.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound first baseman is batting .236 with two home runs and nine RBIs for double-A Birmingham, a team that has considerable experience in giving athletes opportunities later in life.

Basketball star Michael Jordan played for the Barons during his short-lived but well-publicized attempt at a baseball career.

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