University of Arizona pitchers Mark Melancon and Brad Mills will be close to their phones during Tuesday’s baseball draft.
Melancon could be the first Wildcat picked, despite being out since April 7 with a strained ligament in his right (throwing) elbow. The school record holder for saves, with 18, has said there is nothing wrong with his arm, and has the MRI to prove it.
Now it will be up to clubs to believe in the medical report and the wicked pitches of Melancon, who had a team-leading 2.97 ERA and a 3-3 record with four saves.
“I’ve been rehabbing like crazy, strengthening my shoulder and my forearm to make sure everything else is in line as well,” he said.
If Melancon is picked high, expect the junior to take the money and sign a pro contract.
Mills is also expected to get a call after going 6-5 with a 4.70 ERA this season. The junior left-hander has scouts at virtually every game clocking his throws.
“I’ve heard I could go in the top 10 (rounds),” Mills said. “I’m not trying to pay too much attention to that. I would love to get drafted high, but coming back here and receiving coaching with coach (Andy) Lopez can only make me better.”
UA infielders Jason Donald and Brad Boyer are expected to be selected early. Donald might go in the top three rounds. Boyer is hoping his .323 batting average will improve his draft status from the 14th round a year ago.
UA coaches are also waiting to see which players will get drafted, and sign, from a top 10 recruiting class.
Pitcher Jason Stoffel of Agoura Hills (Calif.) High School was slated to be picked in the first three rounds, but he broke his ankle last week and that might make some think twice. There’s no problem with his arm. He had an 8-2 record and a 1.29 ERA this season.
Outfielder Drew Rundle could also get a quick call after hitting .450 with 20 RBIs, 11 doubles and 29 runs scored for Bend (Ore.) High. The Baseball America preseason first-team All-American is considered one of the nation’s top prospects.
Catcher Dwight Childs of Elk Grove (Calif.) High and shortstop Kevin Rodland of Snohomish (Wash.) High could be picked in the first 10 rounds.
Shortstop Robert Abel might also hear his phone ring on the first day after becoming the Sierra Foothill League MVP. He hit .485 and broke Woodland (Calif.) High records for career at-bats (337), runs (144), hits (145), triples (17), walks (53) and stolen bases (97).
Sabino grad Nickols signs with Reds, heads to Fla.
Sabino grad Robbie Nickols of Pima Community College has signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
Nickols, a pitcher, was drafted in the 22nd round by the Reds in 2005 out of Pima, but he did not sign last summer, deciding to stay in school. The Reds held his draft rights until this year’s draft – which starts Tuesday – and came to terms with the Tucsonan. He will play for the Reds’ short-season Rookie League team in Sarasota, Fla.
Citizen Staff Report
World Cup soccer: Young star may get start for U.S.
HAMBURG, Germany – The Beatles got their start in Hamburg and Bobby Convey, with his wavy mop-top, could have fit right in.
With his long, penetrating runs down the left side of the field, he was among the more impressive players during the United States’ three World Cup warm-ups last month. And now, just days past his 23rd birthday, he might get a start in the tournament opener against the Czech Republic on June 12.
A year ago, Convey discussed his future with Bruce Arena during a team flight, a talk the U.S. coach hoped would spur the ambitious midfielder to become a more complete player.
“Bruce knows I like to prove people wrong, including him,” Convey said. “He just challenged me, and it was a good thing.”
Long before Freddy Adu, Convey was the youngest player in MLS, just 16 when he signed with D.C. United in 2000. He was the youngest on the U.S. roster for the 1999 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, where he was teammates with Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Oguchi Onyewu – all likely World Cup starters for the U.S.
The World Cup begins Friday with Costa Rica facing Germany at 9 a.m. on ESPN2 and Univision.
> Look for World Cup previews, starting Wednesday, in the Citizen.
The Associated Press
Woman to bowl full time on PBA Tour for first time
HAMMOND, Ind. – Forget golfer Michele Wie. Kelly Kulick is the new trailblazer for women in a men’s sport. For the first time in PBA Tour history, a woman will bowl full time on the tour after Kulick finished sixth in the PBA Tour Trials on Sunday to earn one of 10 exemptions for the 2006-07 season.
“To be the first woman is huge, words can’t even describe the feeling,” she told pba.com.
The PBA opened its membership to women in 2004 after the Professional Women’s Bowlers Association (PWBA) folded.
Citizen Staff Report