Cougar Baseball Notebook: Where are they now

LOOK AROUND THE ranks of professional baseball, and you'll see crimson dotting the landscape. Mark Hendrickson, Eddie Bonine and Don Long are all maintaining Washington State's long tradition of ties with the major leagues. Hendrickson, better known as a basketball star during his Cougar days, is back for his second season as a middle relief pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles. And there's more..

A nine-year major league veteran, Hendrickson owns a 56-68 career record after going 6-5 last season.

Bonine, who spent parts of the past two seasons with Detroit, has started the season in the Tigers' bullpen. A former junior college standout, Bonine went 8-8 in his only season at Washington State in 2002, then spent his senior year at Nevada.

Long has been the Pittsburgh Pirates' hitting coach since 2008. Long is not one of the 32 former Cougars who have played in the big leagues -- he hit just .251 in three seasons in the San Francisco Giants' farm system -- but he registered a .380 batting average in his two seasons with the Cougars in 1982-83.

MEANWHILE, ANOTHER SIX FORMER COUGARS are on rosters of minor league teams that start play this week.

Crafty left-hander Jayson Miller has worked his way up to Class AA in the Los Angeles Angels' farm system. Miller will pitch for Arkansas in the Texas League after going 7-11 with two Class A teams last season.

Matt Way, Philadelphia's fifth-round draft pick last year, has been assigned to Lakewood (N.J.) of the Class A South Atlantic League. Way posted a 5-1 record with the BlueClaws last season (counting a playoff win) after being promoted from short-season Class A.

Way can renew acquaintances with ex-Cougar outfielder Jared Prince when Lakewood plays the Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads. Prince, the 34th-round draft pick of Texas last year, has joined the Crawdads after batting .283 as a pro rookie with the Spokane Indians of the short-season Class A Northwest League.

Two others who wore the Cougar uniform, third baseman Paul Gran and first baseman Jim Murphy, earned promotions from the South Atlantic League to the Florida State League. Both leagues are full-season Class A circuits.

Gran, a Florida Marlins farmhand, plays for the Jupiter (Fla.) Hammerheads. Murphy, part of the Philadelphia organization, has been assigned to the Clearwater (Fla.) Threshers.

Travis Webb, 7-10 with Sarasota (Fla.) in the FSL last year, has been shipped to Lynchburg, Va., of the Class A Carolina League. Webb is a Cincinnati farmhand.

TWO MEMBERS OF the 2009 Cougars, pitcher Jeremy Johnson (Cleveland) and catcher Alex Burg (San Francisco), remain in Arizona at extended spring training. Johnson played in short-season Class A last year, and Burg sat out the season following knee surgery.

Veteran pitcher Aaron Trolia has been invited back for tryouts with the Victoria (British Columbia) Seals in the independent Golden Baseball League. The GBL opens in late May.

Reggie Rivard, who spent 10 years in the minor leagues, has retired. Rivard pitched for Calgary (Alberta) in the CBL the past two seasons.

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