WSU Baseball Notebook

TAYLOR ARD IS back in the Northwest after making a classy exit from the Midwest. Ard, the former Washington State slugger, has joined the Hillsboro (Ore.) Hops of the Northwest League after signing with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks.

Ard received a standing ovation at the Frontier League All-Star Game in Sauget, Ill., last Wednesday when he started at third base, then left the game after one pitch because he had signed with Arizona earlier in the day.

“I wanted to go out there and play with my teammates one last time,” Ard told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

Ard, a first baseman at WSU and in his two seasons in the Seattle farm system, ranked among the Frontier League leaders with a .338 batting average, nine home runs and 33 RBIs in 50 games. River City is based in O’Fallon, Mo.

Ard was released at the end of spring training by the Mariners after a strong rookie season in the Northwest League with Everett and a so-so season in the Midwest League with Clinton (Iowa) last year.

The Frontier League, an independent pro league, operates without major league affiliations. Tommy Richards is another Cougar who has re-started his pro career in the Frontier League this year. Richards, who played in the Baltimore farm system in 2012, is batting .272 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 42 games as an infielder with the Gateway Grizzlies of Sauget.

Another independent minor league player from WSU, pitcher Matt Way, was released earlier this season by Long Island (N.Y.) of the Atlantic League.

Yale Rosen continues to struggle as a rookie pro in the Northwest League. The former WSU outfielder is hitting .222 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 28 games with Eugene.

Two other June draft picks out of WSU, Nick Tanielu and Tanner Chleborad, faced one another Friday in the New York-Penn League. Tanielu had an RBI single and walked in two trips to the plate against Chleborad, who took the loss in his second start with the Aberdeen (Md.) IronBirds.

Tanielu, a Houston farmhand, is batting .320 with a homer and 18 RBIs in 26 game with the Tri-City ValleyCats of Troy, N.Y. Chleborad, pitching in the Baltimore Orioles system, is 1-1 with a 2.35 earned run average in four appearances in the NYP, a short-season Class A circuit.

Washington State’s other June draft pick in the NYP, Collin Slaybaugh, is hitting .161 with no homers and one RBI in 10 games with the Staten Island (N.Y.) Yankees. Staten Island is a farm club of the New York Yankees.

Adam Nelubowich, just back from a stint on the disabled list, is batting .176 in five games with Tri-City in the NYP. He struck out in his only at bat against Chleborad last Friday.

Kyle Johnson went 2-for-2 with a stolen base in the Eastern League All-Star Game last Wednesday in Altoona, Pa. A fans vote made Johnson the starting center fielder for the West Division.

Johnson, a New York Mets farmhand, is batting .278 with four homers and 36 RBIs in 74 games with the Class AA Binghampton (N.Y.) Mets.

Taylor Williams, who recently pitched in the Midwest League All-Star Game, continues to rank among the league leaders with a 7-1 record, 2.72 ERA and 84 strikeouts (in 89 1-3 innings). He plays for Milwaukee’s Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of Appleton.

Derek Jones played in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game last year, but he’s had a tougher time after moving up to the California League this season. Jones is batting .256 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 83 games with the Class A Modesto (Calif.) Nuts, and the Texas Rangers farmhand has struck out 97 times in 273 at bats spread over 83 games.

Two minor league veterans from WSU, Alex Burg and Shea Vucinich, have assumed utility roles in the Class AA Southern League.

Burg, a Miami farmhand, is batting .265 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 66 games with Jacksonville (Fla.). Vucinich, playing in the Milwaukee organization, is hitting .206 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 55 games with Huntsville (Ala.).

Adam Conley has yet to return to form after battling an elbow injury earlier this season with Miami’s top farm team, the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. In 12 games, Conley has a 3-5 record and a 6.00 ERA.

Jim Murphy, playing for Lehigh Valley (Pa.) in the AAA International League, is batting .237 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 88 games.

Seth Harvey, battling back from elbow surgery, is 0-0 with a 7.84 ERA in eight appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Rookie-class team in the Arizona League.

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