Former Winthrop pitcher continues to roll in pros

Former Winthrop pitcher Heath Rollins continues to roll along in his first full season of professional baseball.

Rollins, playing for the Class A Columbus Catfish, ran his record to 12-4 with a 4-0 victory over West Virginia last week. Rollins pitched seven innings, scattered three hits, walked one and struck out five.

Rollins has won six of his past seven decisions.

A 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander, Rollins was Tampa Bay's 11th-round pick in the 2006 draft. After going 1-3 with Hudson Valley of the short-season New York-Penn League last year, Rollins has blossomed this year. He leads the South Atlantic League in strikeouts (123), is tied for second in victories (12) and is fourth in innings pitched (129 1-3).

He has been named SAL Pitcher of the Week twice this year and was also a mid-season SAL All-Star.

• HELP ARRIVES: The Charlotte Knights, their ranks thin because of injuries and promotions, got a little late-week help.

Catcher Donny Lucy and outfielder Tom Collaro were called up from Double-A Birmingham to bolster the Knights.

Lucy, the Chicago White Sox's second-round pick in the 2004 draft, was batting .269 with six homers and 27 RBIs for Birmingham.

Collaro, a 6-4, 210-pound right-handed hitter, was batting .257 with 19 homers, second-best in the Southern League, and 67 RBIs. He was a 27th-round draft choice in 2001.

• ROAD WARRIORS: The Knights returned home this week after spending a lot of time on the road for parts of three weeks.

The Knights spent about 35 hours on the bus, traveling approximately 2,000 miles and visiting four cities for a scheduled 12-game road trip. They made stops at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.

The Knights were 5-6 on the trip as one game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was rained out.

• BULLS GET LONGORIA: Evan Longoria, the top-hitting prospect in Tampa Bay's organization, has joined the Durham Bulls.

Longoria, a third baseman, was promoted from Double-A Montgomery, where he was batted .307, hit 21 homers, knocked in 76 runs and scored 78 runs.

Longoria was the third pick in the 2006 draft out of Long Beach State, a school that has produced infielder Troy Tutowitzki (Colorado), pitcher Jered Weaver (L.A. Angels) and first baseman Jason Giambi (N.Y. Yankees).

The Knights entertain the Bulls on Aug. 10-12 in a three-game series.

• ON DECK: The Knights end a brief two-game road trip today at Durham with a 5 p.m. game against the Bulls.

The Knights have an off day Monday before opening a seven-game homestand Tuesday. Richmond comes to town for a four-game series, with Durham following for a three-game series.

Fifteen of the Knights' next 18 games are at home.

• EXTRA BASES: Arizona IF Connor Jackson's father, John M. Jackson, is a member of the cast of the TV series "Bones." ... Former Knights IF Donnie Sadler was suspended 50 games for testing positive for drugs. Sadler, who played briefly for the Knights in 2004, was with Tucson, an Arizona affiliate. ... Ex-Knight RHP Bret Prinz is now with Indianapolis. ... Former Knights OF/IF Dionys Cesar (2004) has signed with Long Island.