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Veteran Wolf downplays tough outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As a 14-year Major League veteran, Randy Wolf knows Cactus League games aren't a make-or-break test of a pitcher's progress. But he also knows this spring isn't like most for him.

Wolf is trying to win a job as a non-roster invitee, who hasn't pitched since Tommy John surgery in 2012. So even though his reconstructed left elbow felt strong Friday, there was that matter of the four runs on three hits -- two homers and a triple -- in three innings of a 10-9 loss to the Reds to worry about.

"Physically I feel good," Wolf said. "When you're on the roster, Spring Training is a time to prepare, and I've never had a glorious Spring Training in my life. You never want to give up runs, but you want to always get stronger and stronger and physically feel good. Unfortunately, in the position I'm in, you don't have those luxuries."

But Wolf said he actually felt better than in his initial outing -- two scoreless frames against the Indians on Sunday -- and that progress is what he'll build on. He said his curveball was lousy and he didn't have the touch on his new splitter, resulting in a pair of costly two-out walks that led to runs.

"I look at today and obviously the end result looks awful," he said. "But I really just gave up three hard-hit balls, and that was it. Unfortunately, two of those happened with a walk before that and it cost me runs."

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he's not reading too much into the early results, particularly for a veteran like Wolf, who was an All-Star in 2003 and has won 132 games in his career.

"Listen, you're not going to judge on every outing, particularly this early in spring," McClendon said. "I thought the ball came out pretty good. He probably needed a little more bite on the curveball, but other than that, I thought he threw the ball OK.

"He made some good pitches, and he made some bad pitches," McClendon said. "It was a typical Spring Training wind. When the ball is up in the zone and you get it up in that wind, it's going to jump out of the ballpark. I don't think he pitched as bad as the linescore would indicate."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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