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Wolf to test free agent market

Wolf to test free agent market

HOUSTON -- The Astros have made their pitch to Randy Wolf, but the free agent left-hander said he will test the market before making a decision on where he will pitch in 2009.

Astros general manager Ed Wade confirmed on Wednesday that the club had made contract offers to Wolf and the team's other remaining free agent pitcher, Doug Brocail. The Astros' exclusive negotiating window with their free agents ends Friday.

"We are going to hit free agency and see what happens," Wolf told KRIV-TV in Houston Wednesday night. "I've been honest with Ed about that and my agent has been honest with Ed about that. Baseball players don't have many chances to be a free agent and the past two I was coming off injury."

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Wolf, 32, went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with the Astros and a combined 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 33 starts for the Padres and the Astros. He finished in the top 10 in the National League in starts and shutouts. The Astros were 10-2 in games started by Wolf, whose 2008 base salary was $4.75 million. This will be his first time to test free agency after an injury-free season.

"This is a weird time and an exciting time," Wolf told the station. "I just want the right situation and the right deal. The Astros have been aggressive and very upfront about their desire to keep me in Houston. I am definitely flattered with the way they have showed me they want to keep me in Houston."

Wolf's 190 1/3 innings pitched in 2008 were his most in five years. He has never been to the playoffs and said he hopes to sign with a contending club.

"My main focus is pitching for a team that is going to win and can make the playoffs," Wolf said. "I'm 32 and I've never been in the playoffs. I am beyond jealous when I watch other teams in the playoffs on TV."

Playing on the West Coast is not critical to the Los Angeles resident.

"I think that is highly overstated," Wolf said. "When I signed with the Dodgers that's when that all started. I never had the opportunity to play in my hometown and I had a lot of fun, but it didn't change my life."

Hot Stove

Wolf said he has no specific timetable for making a decision on where he will play next year.

Wade hasn't placed time limits on the offer but will consider other options in the meantime.

"We would like to get something done sooner rather than later," Wade said. "If it doesn't get done by Friday then we're going to have to be there looking in the market for other alternatives. We can't allow this to drag out to where we can't find viable alternatives to fill our needs. It's no secret we'd like to have Randy back, he pitched very well for us."

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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