Gillick may cost Cougs another top player

BASEBALL HALL of Famer Pat Gillick, who coaxed John Olerud into leaving Washington State after his junior season, might keep another top baseball prospect from ever playing a game in a Cougars uniform.

Gillick scouted pitcher Mitch Gueller this spring as a consultant for the Philadelphia Phillies. On Monday, the Phils drafted Gueller – a Cougars signee out of W.F. West High in Chehalis – 54th overall in major league baseball's annual First-Year Player Draft.

Gueller has repeatedly said he is undecided on whether to turn pro or play for WSU. The hard-throwing right-hander posted a 6-0 record and 0.80 earned run average this spring.

Gueller was drafted in the compensatory round between the first and second rounds. Teams receive compensatory picks if they lost players to free agency over the winter.

Gillick was general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989 when he pushed for the selection of Olerud in the third round. Many teams were scared off by a brain aneurysm Olerud suffered after being named college baseball player of the year in 1988.

Olerud went on to play 17 years in the major leagues, batting .295 with 255 home runs. Olerud played on two World Series champions in Toronto under Gillick, who later signed Olerud a second time when Gillick was general manager of the Seattle Mariners.

The draft continues today (rounds 2-15) and Wednesday (rounds 16-40). WSU's top two hitters, senior right fielder Derek Jones and redshirt junior first baseman Taylor Ard, could be selected today. Both are expected to sign.

Both remaining days of the draft will be streamed live on beginning at 9 a.m.

Elsewhere, former WSU pitcher Adam Conley has been selected to play in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 19 in Charleston, S.C.

Conley, Miami's second-round draft pick last year, ranks among the SAL leaders with a 6-1 record, 2.83 earned run average and 67 strikeouts. He's allowed just 42 hits and walked 20 in 57 1-3 innings for the Class A Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers.

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