New draftees start pro careers
While many of us have been on vacation in recent weeks, newly drafted baseball players have signed contracts and begun their professional careers.
Here's a roundup of how Lowcountry products, and players from Clemson and South Carolina, have started in pro ball:
--Left-handed pitcher Matt Talley (The Citadel), a 28th-round pick by Atlanta, was assigned to the Braves' affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. He pitched his first five games out of the bullpen, going 1-0 with an 0.69 ERA in 13 innings.
--Matt Leeds, an All-American third baseman at College of Charleston, has been moved to first base by the Rangers, who drafted him in the 31st round. Leeds is batting .256 with three homers and 16 RBIs in his first 19 games for the Rangers' affiliate in the rookie Arizona League.
--Charleston Southern has added another pitcher to the pro ranks in Ali Williams, who was drafted in the 34th round by Kansas City. Williams, a right-hander, is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his first 11 2/3 innings for the AZL Royals, and joins ex-Bucs R.J. Swindle, Tyler Thornburg and Bobby Parnell of the New York Mets in pro ball.
--Pitcher John Cornley (Wofford/Bishop England HS) was also drafted by the Braves and is playing for Danville in the rookie Appalachian League. Cornley, a 15th-round pick, is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in eight innings at Danville.
--From national champion South Carolina, third baseman Adrian Morales has played his first pro games. Morales, a 49th-round pick by the Royals, is hitless in two games for the AZL Royals.
--Clemson's Jeff Schaus already has begun and ended his pro career. A 16th-round pick by the Dodgers, Schaus batted .273 in eight games for the AZL Dod-gers before deciding to retire.
"I just didn't think I was having as much fun as I should be," Schaus said. "I've decided to move on with life."
Around the bases
--It looks like pitcher Bobby Parnell (Charleston Southern) will get a shot at filling the closer role for the New York Mets after the trade of Francisco Rodriguez. Parnell is 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA for the Mets this season and can throw his fastball more than 100 mph.
--First baseman Richard Jones (The Citadel) was selected as a Midwest League mid-season All-Star, hitting .302 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs through 70 games for the Cubs' Class A team in Peoria.
--Pitcher Heath Hembree (College of Charleston) has six saves and a 3.38 ERA in nine games since being promoted to Class AA Richmond by the Giants. For the season, Hembree has 27 saves, an ERA of 1.38 and 56 strikeouts against just 17 walks.