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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Former stars return to UA Sancet

    It’s only been two years since 2005 MLB draft picks John Meloan and Jordan Brown left Arizona, but to them, their former home is almost unrecognizable.

    “”When we first showed up, it was chain-link fences, no grass berms, no nice scoreboard, no billboard, none of this,”” said Meloan, a fifth-round pick by the Dodgers two years ago.

    He looked to his left, where Brown, a Cleveland Indians’ prospect and the reigning Carolina League MVP after a season in which he hit .290 with 15 home runs and 87 RBIs, was shaking his head.

    “”Didn’t have foul poles, remember?”” he said.

    “”Yeah,”” Meloan replied. “”A lot of this stuff that I feel like we’ve done, going to the (postseason) every year, the (College) World Series and stuff, has paved the way so we can have some of this nicer stuff for the younger guys.””

    It’s that experience that UA head coach Andy Lopez is banking on rubbing off on his young and impressionable squad Sunday at 1 p.m during baseball’s annual Alumni Game at Sancet Stadium.

    “” I don’t have to say too much when you’ve got guys that are on the cusp of making the big leagues, and they’re out here working as hard as our guys that are on scholarship,”” Lopez said before practice earlier this week, as a number of former Wildcats took swings in batting practice behind him.

    The current players on the roster, which boasts 26 underclassmen, “”see these guys out here everyday, hitting ground balls and running,”” Lopez added. “”They take note of that.””

    This week’s practices have been littered with players of Arizona’s past, including Brown, Meloan and fellow 2005 pick Nick Hundley, as well as Jason Donald, who was selected in the third round of last year’s MLB Draft by Philadelphia.

    All four are slated to take part in the festivities Sunday, which also include a home run derby at noon.

    When adding in Chris Frey, another 2005 draft pick; Joe Estes, Ed Vosberg, Chip Hale and Alan Zinter – Wildcats of the 80s – Sancet will be rich with baseball knowledge.

    “”I think as a player, whenever I saw guys that came back that had done a lot in their careers, at the college level and then beyond, it was always good for me as a player to see how they worked,”” Brown said.

    Added Meloan: “”I think the biggest thing for younger guys is that they see guys that were brought up in this program and are now having success based on what they learned here.””

    It’s that foundation current players hope to build on, so one day they can come back and be the teacher instead of students.

    “”They’re just living their dream,”” said outfielder Jon Gaston, “”and we’re going to try and take our footsteps in theirs and try to live that dream.””

    Extra Bases

    Former outfielder Trevor Crowe, Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2005, has been attending the Indians’ prospects’ camp. Though he won’t play Sunday, he is expected to be in town. Wildcat coaching legend Jerry Kindall is also expected to attend. The early favorite in the Home Run Derby? “”I’m going to go with Zinter on that,”” Brown said. “”Alan Zinter. He’s used to it. He trains.””

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