The Arizona Diamondbacks were upside down with a 4-8 record on April 11 -- the day they signed veteran pitcher Randy Wolf to a minor league contract.
Three starts later, Wolf, 37, may be on a fast track from Reno to Phoenix, where the Diamondbacks entered play Friday with a starting rotation that had compiled a collective earned run average of 6.78.
In 17.0 innings pitched for Triple-A Reno, Wolf has a 2-1 record and a 3.71 ERA. On Thursday, the left-hander allowed just one run against the Salt Lake Bees -- a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate -- in 6.0 innings pitched while striking out four and walking three.
On Friday, before the D-backs' series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, manager Kirk Gibson was frank when asked about Wolf's potential role on his team.
"We evaluate daily how we can improve our pitching," he began. "Our starting pitching has not been what we had hoped it would be. And he's a starter. Does that answer your question?"
If Wolf were to get called up, it may be to replace Bronson Arroyo, who has struggled out of the gate with his new team. In four starts for the Diamondbacks, the 37-year-old veteran has lasted a combined 18.0 innings while allowing 19 earned runs -- good for a 9.50 ERA. He has struck out eight and walked seven in those appearances.
Another member of the starting rotation, Brandon McCarthy, is 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA in five starts with the Diamondbacks this season. And in 27 career starts for the team, the 30-year-old right-hander is 5-15 with a 4.84 ERA. His 21 earned runs and seven home runs are the most surrendered by any pitcher in the National League.
Neither Arroyo nor McCarthy has managed to record a quality start this season.
Thus, Wolf is an option, if only by virtue of the struggles of those ahead of him in the organizational depth chart.
"If he continues to throw the ball well, he's certainly a guy we're going to consider," Gibson told reporters.
"Our starting pitching needs to be better, period."
Wolf missed the entire 2013 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He is 132-117 with a 4.20 ERA over the course of his 14-year career. He was an All-Star for the Phillies in 2003, when he finished with a 16-10 record.
The left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners in February. After five spring training starts, in which he lasted 19.0 innings and never got a decision while compiling a 4.26 ERA, he was released.