We’ve got a handful of notes to pass along from the state of South Carolina. First, at Clemson, two-sport recruit Kyle Parker has enrolled early and will play baseball for the Tigers this spring. Parker, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher who ranked as the No. 232 prospect in the high school class of 2008, was also a standout quarterback at Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville, Fla. He will likely redshirt as a freshman for the football team, according to a note in this story from The (Columbia, S.C.) State, and his participation in spring football will depend upon how his role with the baseball team develops. Parker doesn’t figure to earn a lot of early playing time with catcher Doug Hogan back for his senior year, but he could be the Tigers’ catcher of the future.
Coastal Carolina also landed a potential impact newcomer. Six-foot-5 lefthander Jim Birmingham, who went 4-2, 4.48 to help lead Pennsylvania to the Ivy League championship series, has transferred to Coastal. Birmingham is a good competitor with a knack for wriggling out of tight spots, and he has added velocity as he’s started to fill out his lanky frame–he reached 91 mph as a freshman. Birmingham will redshirt this year at Coastal, but he could succeed Bobby Gagg as the Chanticleers’ Friday starter in 2009.
At South Carolina, meanwhile, the news is a little more sobering. The Gamecocks already have some significant holes to fill on the mound thanks to the departures of Harris Honeycutt, Arik Hempy and Jeff Jeffords, and as expected righthander Jay Brown–one of the best arms remaining on the staff–had Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2008. But compounding that attrition, the Gamecocks will be without their top freshman pitcher, lefthander Steven Neff, who had labrum surgery. Neff and fellow freshman lefty Brandon Miller, who had Tommy John, will miss all of 2008, further depleting the depth of the staff. That just means a third freshman lefty, Will Casey, could assume a more prominent role.
In Rock Hill, S.C., Winthrop is dealing with a different sort of attrition. The Eagles already knew they’d be without ace righthander Alex Wilson, who had Tommy John surgery, but it turns out they won’t have him in 2009 either. Wilson transferred to Texas A&M, and infielder Phil Carey made the same move. Winthrop also lost righty Jason Franzblau to Arizona State and catcher Jayson Hernandez to Rutgers.
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