Former South Carolina infielder James Darnell has been called up to the major leagues by the San Diego Padres.
Darnell, a two-time All-SEC third baseman at South Carolina, joined the team in New York as the Padres begin a four-game series with the Mets. Padres third baseman Chase Headley was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left pinkie Monday, leaving the team without their most productive hitter.
Darnell (2006-08) is one of five former Gamecocks currently in the big leagues. The 24-year-old was batting .317 with 23 homers and 75 RBIs in 102 games between Double-A San Antonio and Tucson this season. He was chosen for the Futures Game during All-Star week.
A native of Fresno, Calif., Darnell was signed by the Padres as a second-round selection out of South Carolina in the 2008 first-year player draft.
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Over parts of four minor league seasons in the Padres (2008-11) organization, he has hit .304 (399-for-1313) with 95 doubles, seven triples, 56 home runs, 229 RBI, 220 runs scored and 211 walks against 239 strikeouts in 352 games played.
A second team All-SEC selection, Darnell hit .306 his junior year with 19 HR and 81 RBI. His RBI total is the fourth highest in a single-season by a Gamecock player. He started all 63 games in his final year at third base for the Gamecocks.
Darnell also led the conference in RBI in SEC games with 40 RBI in 30 conference contests. He twice tied the USC single-game record for home runs with three in a 13-7 win vs. Kentucky on March 29 and in a 13-1 win at the College of Charleston on March 18. Darnell recorded 41 career homers in a three-year career with USC, tied for ninth on the school career list.