OAKLAND—Righthander Ross Wolf grew up listening to his grandfather's stories of past baseball adventures.
Grandpa Howard told of how, as a boy, he was shagging balls for a traveling team and had the opportunity to sit next to Babe Ruth in the dugout.
Years later, he played for a company team in Joliet, Ill., that played an exhibition against a barnstorming team that included Jackie Robinson, who took Howard deep.
"He loved baseball, so we grew up playing," said Ross, who along with brothers Blake and Adam would play catch and take batting practice with their grandfather on the family's rural Illinois farm. "He had one of those old-time baseball gloves, the flat kind."
Wolf earned a late-season callup to the Marlins in 2007, five years after being drafted by Florida in the 18th round out of Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC. He allowed 16 runs in 12 innings, however, and did not return to the majors until this July.
"There was a time this offseason when I didn't know if I'd ever get another chance or what would happen to me," Wolf, 27, said.
He signed with the Orioles as a minor league free agent for the 2009 season, and then re-signed with them for '10. But Baltimore traded him to the Athletics for first baseman/catcher Jake Fox on June 22.
Pitching for both Triple-A Norfolk and Sacramento this season, Wolf went a combined 0-2, 1.99 in 32 appearances, while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 45 innings. He saved three games in three chances for the River Cats prior to his callup.
Wolf began his A's career in style, contributing four scoreless appearances. He throws strikes with an average fastball, a plus changeup and a usable slider.
"I think it's better than the first time when I got called up to Florida," Wolf said. "It was a new start. As soon as I walked into this clubhouse, I felt comfortable. The first time I got called up, I was 24, and I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't talk to anybody."
• Righthander Michael Ynoa was scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on Aug. 24. The 18-year-old second-year pro has thrown just nine career innings, all in the Rookie-level Arizona League this season. He signed out of the Dominican two years ago for $4.25 million.
• Chris Carter made his big league debut on Aug. 9 as a left fielder, the position he'll play the rest of the season. The first baseman made the shift while at Sacramento, where he batted .262/.368/.531 with 27 homers in 424 at-bats. Carter played 48 games on an outfield corner in his six-year minor league career.