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DODGERS NOTEBOOK: Wolf not bitter toward Astros.

Byline: Tony Jackson, Staff Writer

HOUSTON - On the occasion of his first return to Minute Maid Park since the Houston Astros extended, and then quickly rescinded, a three-year, $28.5 million contract offer last November, and one day before he is to take the mound against them tonight, Dodgers left-hander Randy Wolf said he harbors no resentment toward the franchise with which he finished last season.

Wolf went was 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with Houston after a mid-season trade from San Diego.

Wolf remained on the free-agent market for an agonizing three months after things fell apart with the Astros, who cited economic concerns in withdrawing their offer. On Feb. 6, he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with his hometown Dodgers that included a series of incentives that could push the figure to $8 million.

"I really don't look at it as having been shortchanged," Wolf said. "I look at it as the reality of what was going on (economically). From my perspective, there is really nothing I can do about it other than try to make the most of this year and not look back.

"They had to make a business decision they felt was right for them. If that is what is right for them, I don't fault them for that."

Wolf, a graduate of El Camino Real High who played at Pepperdine University, said this spring during his brief stint with the Astros last season he rediscovered a comfort zone with his mechanics that mostly had been missing since he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow almost four years ago.

Trainer's room

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda threw about 15 pitches off a mound for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle April 10. If Kuroda has no ill effects he probably will do it again in a couple of days, then perhaps go on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment consisting of one start.

"He possibly could (return) by the end of the month," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Meanwhile, reliever Cory Wade (bursitis) played long-toss, felt fine and should be throwing off a mound soon. Right-hander Jason Schmidt threw about 70 pitches in an extended spring-training game with no ill effects, although it has yet to be determined whether he is ready to begin a rehab assignment.

Still starting

Right-hander James McDonald will remain in the starting rotation for now, Torre said.

The Dodgers are one game into a 20-game stretch without an off-day, during which they will need a fifth starter four times.

His next start will come Saturday night at Colorado.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 22, 2009
Words:442
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