CHICAGO -- The Brewers were pleased to see reports Tuesday that recently released left-hander Randy Wolf was near a deal with the Orioles.The deal is not yet complete, and due to Baltimore's crowded rotation, Wolf will likely be used as a reliever.
General manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke had each expressed optimism after the Brewers released Wolf last week that the veteran would land with a contending club. The Orioles lead the American League Wild Card race as of Tuesday afternoon."He might be able to help them out, I think," Melvin said. "Just a change of scenery helps. Baltimore has done pretty well hitting on some of those 'extra guys' this year, which you have to do if you're going to win." Baltimore will only pay Wolf a prorated portion of the Major League minimum salary -- about $80,000. The Brewers will be on the hook for the rest of his remaining 2012 pay -- about $2 million -- and by releasing him they essentially declined his 2013 option, which triggered a $1.5 million buyout. The salary ramifications were secondary on Tuesday. "I'm real happy that he got picked up," said Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who used to hold the same position in Baltimore. "I told him, you hope guys go about their business like he does. When things like this happen, where you're let go or whatever, he can look at himself in the mirror and say, 'I did everything that I could do, and it didn't work out.' You can live with yourself like that." Wolf was 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA in 25 games, 24 starts, this season, the final year of a three-year, $29.75 million contract he signed with Milwaukee at the 2009 Winter Meetings. His biggest challenges figure to be pitching in the American League for the first time in a 14-year career, and potentially pitching in relief for the first time in 11 years. But Kranitz pointed out that Wolf pitched well in Interleague outings at Boston and New York last year, and argued Wolf was mentally and physically capable to make a move to relief. "His numbers against lefties were pretty good here," Kranitz said. "He's fine. He takes care of himself so well for a guy who's 36 years old. He could do that. He could go into the bullpen." Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum knows about pitching in the AL East. He was with the Blue Jays before a trade to Milwaukee. "It's a good thing for Randy. That's a tough division, but Randy is smart enough that he'll figure out how to get those guys out," Marcum said. "He knows how to pitch. He's been doing it for 14 years, so he knows what he's doing."
Marcum reportedly placed on waivers
CHICAGO -- FOXSports.com reported that the Brewers placed right-hander Shaun Marcum on waivers Tuesday in a strategically-timed move that positions the team to trade him before the weekend.Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash cited Major League rules in declining to say this week whether the team had placed Marcum or resurgent reliever Francisco Rodriguez -- both free agents after this season -- on waivers, a necessary step in order to trade a player after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But the timing of Tuesday's report made sense in Marcum's case. It is no coincidence that the Brewers timed Marcum's return from an elbow injury such that he started Saturday in Pittsburgh and is scheduled to pitch again on Thursday afternoon against the Cubs, a day and a half before the 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for contending teams to trade for a player and have him eligible for postseason play. According to the FOXSports.com report, Marcum's waiver period expires at noon CT on Thursday, just before that start. If he is claimed, the Brewers would have until the Friday night deadline to negotiate a trade with that team. If unable to make a trade, the Brewers could pull Marcum back from the waiver wire. If no team makes a claim, the Brewers would be free to trade Marcum to any club. In either scenario, Milwaukee would be in a much stronger position should Marcum pitch well against the Cubs, against whom he is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made a case over the weekend for a contending club to consider Marcum. He was 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts before developing stiffness in his right elbow after a June 14 outing at Kansas City. "Why wouldn't you?" take a look at Marcum, Roenicke asked. "The guy can flat out pitch." Roenicke also made a strong pitch for Rodriguez, who made his seventh consecutive scoreless, hitless appearance on Monday night. But general manager Doug Melvin said Tuesday that he has not fielded any recent interest in Rodriguez.
Kranitz doesn't want Crew distracted by K's
CHICAGO -- Word is finally spreading through the Brewers' pitching ranks that they have a chance to break baseball's all-time single-season strikeout record, and pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he hopes the bid does not become a distraction."I don't want to see guys try to get strikeouts," Kranitz said. "They are a product of strike one and strike two. ... But when the situation dictates it, we've got guys who know how to strike guys out." He added: "I'm just as happy with a shutout with no strikeouts and no walks. I don't want to get caught up in all that [strikeout talk]. That's why you have a defense out there." After striking out 11 Cubs in a 4-1 win on Tuesday, the Brewers have a big league-best 1,115 strikeouts in 2012 and were on a pace for 1,411 strikeouts this season. The record belongs to the 2003 Cubs, who, with a starting staff anchored by power arms Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, struck out 1,404. The Brewers had trailed the 2003 Cubs' pace until a run of eight consecutive double-digit strikeout games that began Aug. 20, the longest such streak in the Majors since 1900, according to Elias.