By Cary Volpert
Randy Wolf, a 10-year Major League veteran and recently signed Dodger, has been playing catch with Wolverine baseball players on Ted Slavin Field.
Wolf, a Los Angeles native, has been practicing at Harvard-Westlake for the past month to keep himself in shape in the off-season.
Wolf played high school baseball at nearby El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, where he met current Head Baseball Coach Matt LaCour, who used to coach at El Camino.
One player who has played catch with Wolf frequently during the off-season is catcher Sam Katz â09.
Katz got the opportunity to practice with Wolf after some determination and a bit of luck.
“Randy always comes at around 11 oâclock and luckily I was free most of the time,” Katz said.
“I didnât get to play catch with him the first time he came out, so I begged LaCour for a couple of days until he let me play with him.”
At first Katz was anxious about playing catch with a professional.
“I was definitely nervous the first time. He had me line up on the goal line, and he went out to about the 30 yardline, so with each throw I was worried that I would throw it over his head,” Katz said.
“I didnât want to have to make him run.”
Eventually, the catcher became more accustomed to the flow of practicing with the skilled veteran.
“At first we only made small talk, maybe talking about how he hadnât gotten signed until so late in the off-season, his off-season schedule or our Harvard-Westlake team this year,” Katz said.
“Then, as I got to be more comfortable with him, I began to play around with him a bit more. One day he showed up late to the field, so I blamed him for âbig-leaguing me.â”
Katz was amazed by how skilled Wolf was and by the sensation of simply playing catch with a Major League baseball player.
“Itâs pretty wild. I play with other kids on the team practically every day, but when I played with Randy, it was a whole different animal,” Katz said.
“He never misses. When Randy was on, I could set up my glove, close my eyes, and be confident that he would hit the spot. He has great control and great consistency.”
This week is likely Wolfâs last week playing on Ted Slavin Field, with Dodger pitcher and catchers reporting to Arizona for spring training on Monday.
Wolf has also practiced with Coach LaCour, pitchers Hunter Spinks â09, Lucas Casso â09, and Jack Lazebnik â09, and third baseman Andrew Shanfeld â10.