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January 22, 2014

Luncheon set to honor pros

Gamecock Central has learned that South Carolina's current professional baseball players will be honored with a luncheon Friday, Jan. 31, at Carolina Stadium in an event similar to alumni get-togethers held by the basketball and football programs.

The luncheon, which will start at 11:45 p.m., is essentially a formal send-off and thank you to those former Gamecocks getting ready to depart for their spring training camps across the country. South Carolina has 27 such players, 25 of whom are affiliated with clubs and two who are free agents.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Clyde Wrenn, special assistant to development in charge of athletic alumni relations, said the event will become a yearly tradition "as long as I'm here," he said.

"We'll have a luncheon for them and a short program at the stadium," Wrenn said. "Then they can use the facility to work out if they like. We hope they can stay the weekend, but really we just want to wish them well before spring practice."

Wrenn said he expects 12 to 15 players to be able to make it. Confirmed already are Jackie Bradley Jr., Michael Roth, Matt Price, Blake Cooper and Scott Wingo. Wrenn said he hopes Brian Roberts, who recently signed with the New York Yankees, will be able to come.

"We just want to say, 'Hey, good luck at spring training, you always have a home here and we still care about you," Wrenn said. "We did it with former quarterbacks and pros for football and it'll be the lunch then a short program with coach (Chad) Holbrook and coach (Ray) Tanner, let them all tell stories. Some of the players from different eras don't know each other, so that'll be good.

"I'm excited about it, and I know the players and coaches are as well."

The luncheon is not open to the public.



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