Former Fort Mill High School catcher Charlie Lisk is off to the best start of his professional career.
Lisk, in his eighth season of pro ball, is batting .417 with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Independent Frontier League. Lisk's average is eighth best in the FL, but he is tied for the league lead in homers (3) and slugging percentage (.792).
Despite Lisk's hitting heroics, the Grizzlies, based in Sauget, Ill., are in the Frontier League's West Division cellar. The Grizzlies won their season opener, but then dropped seven consecutive games.
Lisk was the Chicago White Sox's 24th-round pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. He spent five seasons in the White Sox organization, but has bounced around since then. He's in his second year with the Grizzlies.
• DRAFT PROSPECTS: Two members of the South Carolina Gamecocks could wind up going in the first round of this week's First-Year Player Draft by Major League Baseball.
Slugging first baseman Justin Smoak is considered a top-five choice with shortstop Reese Havens also possibly sliding into a late first round pick of the draft which starts Thursday.
A switch-hitter, Smoak is projected by some as being the No. 5 pick by the San Francisco Giants. Meanwhile, Havens may be the 30th and final selection of the opening round, going to the world champion Boston Red Sox.
Going into NCAA Regional tournament play this week, Smoak and Havens were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in batting for the Gamecocks. Smoak was hitting .377 with 21 homers, 66 RBIs and 164 total bases.
The Stratford High School graduate was picked in the 16th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics.
Havens, a left-handed hitter out of Bishop England High School, was batting .363 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs. He, too, was chosen in the 2005 draft, going in the 29th round to the Colorado Rockies.
• MAKING 'EM COUNT: Ex-Winthrop pitcher Kevin Slowey was efficient with his pitches in recording his first career complete game as Minnesota beat Kansas City, 5-1, on Thursday.
Slowey, making his 17th major league start, went nine innings, allowing six hits, a run, no walks and notching six strikeouts.
In the fifth inning, Slowey had thrown only 50 pitches and he entered the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead, having tossed 88 offerings. He finished with 101 pitches.
• GETTING WELL: Two members of the Chicago White Sox are currently on 20-day rehabilitation assignments with the International League Charlotte Knights.
White Sox infielders Juan Uribe (strained left hamstring) and Danny Richar (rib injury) are attempting to play their way back to the major leagues.
In other moves, the contract of outfielder Dewayne Wise, who was hitting .338 for the Knights, was purchased by the White Sox.
Free agent pitcher Scott Sauerbeck was signed by Chicago and was assigned to the Knights.
• RICHAR RECORD: Richar took advantage of his rehab assignment to set a Knights franchise record for reaching base in consecutive games.
Richar was on base in his final 31 games for the Knights last season before being promoted to Chicago. In his first game back this season, Richar walked on May 23 against Lehigh Valley to tie outfielder Jerry Owens' record of 32 straight games. Richar then broke the mark on May 24 when he was 2-for-4 against Lehigh Valley.
The streak ended at 36 when Richar failed to reach base in a 4-3 on May 29 against Rochester.
• EXTRA BASES: Former Wofford 3B Brandon Waring is second in the Class A Midwest League with 10 homers for Dayton, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate ... RHP Ben Thurmond, who spent three years at Winthrop before transferring to Arizona State, won his first game of the Independent Can-Am League season for Atlantic City, beating Quebec, 9-6 ... San Jose, a San Francisco Giants farm team in the Class A California League, has two players with Palmetto State ties. DH Andy D'Alessio played at Clemson and OF Dom Duggan is out of Coastal Carolina.