Conley aiming for day one and hoping for Ms

ADAM CONLEY

WASHINGTON STATE pitcher Adam Conley, poised to become the highest baseball draft pick from WSU since 1990, says it would be "awesome" if the Seattle Mariners select him today on day one of Major League Baseball's annual talent grab.

Of course, when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line, Conley isn't going to be too picky about which team drafts him.

"I'll be happy with whatever happens," Conley said.

Conley will be even happier, however, if his name is called today, when the first 60 picks are made. The draft will start at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. It will continue Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I think Monday they're going to give me a shot," Conley said over the weekend.

Conley, a junior, said he's grateful for his WSU experience, but he's ready to take his considerable talents to the professional ranks.

"It is important to me to get my degree (in criminal justice)," Conley said. "Career-wise, it makes the most sense to leave now. It'd be hard to risk another year of potentially getting hurt."

Conley was a Mariners fan growing up in Kennewick and Olympia. "I think the first time I said I wanted to play professional baseball, I was about 7 years old," Conley recalled. "I remember I was watching Randy Johnson pitch. He was playing for the Mariners back then.

"I guess by the time I was 7 years old, I was smart enough to realize that Randy Johnson threw with the same arm (left) as me. I thought that was pretty cool."

Like Johnson, Conley is a tall, hard-throwing, southpaw. Conley's fastball has been clocked in the upper 90s. Poor offensive and defensive support helped limit Conley to a 6-7 record and 3.50 earned run average this season.

Baseball America magazine ranks Conley the 69th-best prospect in the draft. WSU coach Donnie Marbut said "there's no way" Conley will be drafted lower than in Tuesday's second round, which begins with the 61st pick.

The first round (33 picks) today is immediately followed with a what is called the "sandwich round"(27 picks) for teams that lost free agents to other clubs.

Conley said the teams that have been in the most contact with him lately are the Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. The Mariners draft second overall, behind Pittsburgh.

Seattle's second pick is 62nd overall.

Conley was drafted out of Olympia High School by Minnesota in the 32nd round in 2008. No Cougar has been drafted higher than the third round since pitcher Aaron Sele and Scott Hatteberg went to Boston in the first round (Hatteberg as a compensation pick) in 1990.

Several WSU players figure to be drafted this week, including redshirt sophomore first baseman Taylor Ard and junior right fielder Derek Jones. Marbut said he's not certain if Ard or Jones will sign this year, but the coach – a big fan of Conley as a competitor and hard worker – said he knows Conley will not return.

The first and sandwich rounds will be televised Monday (4 p.m., MLB Network).

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