Ex-Gamecock to play in futures game

Ex-South Carolina standout Steven Pearce has been chosen to play in the 2007 All-Star Futures Game.

Pearce, a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, will be a member of the United States Team which will face the World Team on July 8 in AT&T Park in San Francisco at 4 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2 (Cable channel 28 in Rock Hill).

A right-handed hitting first baseman, Pearce is currently playing for the Pirates' Double-A Eastern League team in Altoona, Pa. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Pearce was the Pirates' eight-round selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Pearce started the season at Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League, batting .347 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs in 19 games. He was promoted to Altoona where he is batting .314 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 48 games.

• TWIN THUMPERS: The Charlotte Knights now have a pair of proven home run hitters on their roster in designated hitter Ernie Young and third baseman Earl Snyder.

Young, whose professional career started in 1990, has 315 minor league home runs, including nine this season.

Snyder, signed two weeks ago as a free agent, has hit 212 minor league homers with five coming this year for Louisville and the Knights.

Young's best homer production came in 2000 when he hit 35 with Triple-A Memphis.

Snyder belted 36 homers with Pawtucket of the International League in 2004.

• EX-EAGLE RELEASED: Former Winthrop relief pitcher Jon Wilson has been released by the Texas Rangers organization.

Wilson was pitching at Bakersfield of the Class A California League and was 0-2 with a 6.39 ERA and two saves in 11 games for the Blaze.

A 27th-round draft choice of the Rangers in 2005, Wilson was 4-6 with 16 saves in three years.

• SUCCESSFUL DEBUT: Right-hander Dylan Owen, who pitched for the Rock Hill Sox of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League in 2005, won his professional debut Thursday night.

Owen, a former Chesterfield High School standout, pitched two innings to get the short-season New York-Penn League victory for Brooklyn in a 6-1 victory over Staten Island. Owen allowed only a single in his two innings of work.

Owen was the New York Mets' 20th round pick in this month's draft out of Francis Marion University.

• A REAL 'SHORT' STOP: Louisville senior shortstop Chris Cates has probably heard every comment possible about his lack of height at 5-foot-3. The Cardinals infielder, the shortest player in NCAA Division I and a 38th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, takes it all in stride.

There's the story about a fan who yelled at the Cardinals player, "Hey, cut the grass so the shortstop can see."

Then there's the line about Cates working as a model for wedding cakes.

• ON DECK: The Knights continue a six-game, four-day homestand today with a 2:15 game against Rochester, affiliated with the Minnesota Twins, in Knights Stadium.

The Red Wings and Knights conclude the homestand on Monday with a 7:15 p.m. game. Then the Knights hit the road for eight games -- four at Syracuse (Toronto Blue Jays) and Pawtucket (Boston Red Sox).

The Knights return home on July 4th to begin a five-game homestand, facing Durham (Tampa Bay Devil Rays) in one game and Columbus (Washington Nationals) for four games.

• EXTRA BASES: Clemson OF Brad Chalk has signed a pro contract with the San Diego Padres ... Ex-South Carolina RHP Lee Gronkiewicz has been sent to Triple-A Syracuse by the Toronto Blue Jays ... Former Wofford 3B Brandon Waring has signed with the Cincinnati Reds ... Rice C Danny Lehmann is the nephew of Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" TV show ... 3B Austin Gallagher, who was headed to South Carolina, has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gallagher, the son of former Clemson standout Glenn Gallagher, was the Dodgers' third round draft selection ... Baltimore chose Shippensburg (Pa.) University 2B Eric Perlozzo in the 35th round of the recent draft. He is the son of Sam Perlozzo who was fired as Orioles manager last week.