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DODGERS FYI

Randy Wolf had a season to remember

The left-hander's 34 starts and 214 innings were both career highs, and his 3.23 earned-run average was his lowest since 2002. He's made it clear he would like a multiyear deal.

October 04, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

While continuing to wait for the champagne-soaked celebration that eluded him in his 10 previous seasons, Randy Wolf had some time to reflect on his year and concluded that it was the best of his career.

Wolf's 34 starts and 214 innings were both career highs.

His 3.23 earned-run average was his lowest since 2002, a season Wolf considered his finest until this season.

"This year, I was definitely more consistent," Wolf said. "I had like three bad starts all year."

But that raises a question: Though Wolf has probably pitched his way into the No. 1 spot in the Dodgers' postseason rotation, has he pitched his way off their 2010 roster?

A victim of a depressed free-agent market, Wolf signed a one-year bargain deal with the Dodgers, which included a $5-million base salary.

Wolf earned an additional $3 million in incentives based on innings pitched.

Wolf, who has pitched on one-year contracts in each of the last three years, made it clear he would like to have a multiyear deal.

"It's kind of good to know where you're going to be for a couple of years," he said. "It's kind of unsettling the last couple of years not knowing where I'm going to be, where spring training is going to be. Even getting involved in the community is impossible."

Not feeling pressure

Still unsure of whether the Dodgers would have to win their regular-season finale today to win the National League West, Vicente Padilla acknowledged Saturday evening that he could be a day away from the most important start of his major league career.

But Padilla denied he felt any added pressure. "We've already qualified for the playoffs," he said. "It's not like we could be eliminated. There isn't that much pressure."

A veteran of 10 major league seasons, Padilla has never pitched in the postseason.

But he said he's tried to think as little as possible about making the Dodgers' 25-man playoff roster.

With Hiroki Kuroda ruled out for the opening round of the playoffs, Padilla appears to be competing with Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland for the last two spots in the four-man postseason rotation.

Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are expected to start the first two games of the NL division series.

"They've had guys who have pitched for them the entire season," he said. "Of course, I'd like to pitch, but if I can't, I can't."

Padilla pitched two shutout innings in relief in San Diego on Wednesday, opening up the possibility that he could pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason.

Lineup changes

With the Dodgers facing a left-hander in Jorge De La Rosa, Torre opted to play Juan Pierre in place of Andre Ethier, who entered the game batting .194 against left-handers and was 0 for 7 this season against De La Rosa.

With Pierre batting second behind Rafael Furcal, Matt Kemp batted third for the first time this season, bumping Manny Ramirez to fourth.

Torre said Ethier would start against left-handers in the postseason.

Kemp reduces his Ks

Kemp made a bold declaration in spring training, saying, "Matt Kemp is not going to strike out 153 times this year."

He'll probably be right.

Kemp went into the Dodgers' penultimate game of the regular season with 138 strikeouts, 15 short of the franchise record he set last season.

"I couldn't care less about striking out," Kemp said. "I still strike out, but that's not my main concern."

Elbert, Gordon honored

Left-hander Scott Elbert and shortstop Dee Gordon were honored in a pregame ceremony as the Dodgers' minor league pitcher and player of the year, respectively.

Elbert's greatest reward could come this week, as Torre said he is being considered for a spot on the playoff roster as a situational left-hander.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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