Arizona C.J. Ziegler

Former Arizona first baseman C.J. Ziegler practicing before the Cats defeated Kentucky 5-3 to claim the NCAA Midwest Regional title in 2012.

Steven King/Icon SMI 2012

Two of the leading Arizona baseball players of the Andy Lopez years, pitcher Jon Meloan and first baseman C.J. Ziegler, a CDO grad, are now opponents in the independent Atlantic League. Meloan, who has pitched for 13 minor league teams — and for the Dodgers, A’s and Indians — is pitching for the Long Island Ducks. He is 29. Ziegler, 28, who was last year’s American Association Player of the Year for the Wichita Wingnuts, is playing for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Small-world department: one of his Blue Crabs teammates is ex-Sahuaro High and Pima College infielder Jared McDonald. The Atlantic League is not affiliated with MLB. … Since Pat Nugent resigned as Pima College’s football coach in December, he has returned to teaching, at Cienega High School. That will create much speculation that Nugent will replace Nemer Hassey, the Bobcats’ successful football coach, who said he will retire from coaching at the end of the 2014 season. … Walden Grove High school swimmer Trey Cashion, who won state championships in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke in November, has made a recruiting commitment to swim for Rick DeMont at Arizona next season. Cashion is the brother of eight-time UA All-American swimmer Courtney Cashion. … Sunnyside High grad Michael Smith, the seventh-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago, was released by the Bucs last week. He missed the entire 2013 season with a foot injury, and played in just one game in 2012.