Tim Tebow will be at BB&T Ballpark this week. Zack Collins won’t.
Let’s deal with the latter item first, because it carries much more importance to the Charlotte Knights and their parent team, the Chicago White Sox.
Collins, 24, a first-round draft pick by the White Sox out of the University of Miami, was called up by Chicago on Monday. A left-handed hitting catcher, Collins has made a rapid rise through the White Sox organization, spending only 2½ months this season at the Class AAA level.
He was hitting .250 in 50 games, with nine home runs and 39 RBI. But his hitting has improved of late, and Collins is considered one of the minors’ top defensive catchers.
Where he fits in the White Sox roster is another question, as Chicago already has three catchers and another top prospect in Charlotte (Seby Zavala).
James McCann, who is hitting .324, has nailed down the starting catcher’s spot with the White Sox. That leaves Collins, Wellington Castillo (who was injured Sunday) and former Cleveland Indian Yonder Alonso to battle for the No. 2 spot.
Some Chicago writers were guessing Monday that the White Sox might use Collins as a designated hitter, to get him some playing time.
Meanwhile, Tebow will make his first visit to Charlotte this week as a Class AAA baseball player. The former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida, who saw some time as an NFL quarterback, signed with the New York Mets organization in 2017 and slowly has been climbing the minor-league ladder.
Tebow, now 31, is a left-fielder with the Syracuse Mets, who will be in Charlotte for games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. He is hitting .152 in 165 at-bats, with a home run and 14 RBI. He played in a pair of games last week in Syracuse against the Knights, going 2-for-4.
Here is a look at the past week and what’s ahead for the Knights:
Last Monday: During the day, right-handed pitcher Odrishamer Despaigne was called up by the White Sox. That evening, the Knights ended a home stand with a 7-3 loss to Durham. Paulo Orlando hit a two-run home run for Charlotte.
Tuesday: Syracuse slammed the Knights 15-8, with the Mets’ Rene Rivera collecting four hits and four RBI. Adam Engel tripled and homered for Charlotte.
Wednesday: The Knights edged Syracuse 7-6, with Engel throwing out the potential tying run from center field in the last of the ninth inning. His throw caught Brandon Nimmo, trying to score on a sacrifice fly.
Thursday: Joel Booker hit his first Class AAA home run, but the Knights fell 6-5 in Syracuse.
Friday: Zavala homered, but Rochester edged Charlotte 7-6. Cease pitched five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.
Sunday: Off the field, Charlotte pitcher Jordan Stephens was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians. The Knights played two games in Rochester, including a makeup of a rained-out Saturday contest. Charlotte dropped both contests, 11-5 and 3-2. In the second game, starting pitcher Justin Nicolino took a shutout into the seventh inning but was nicked for three runs.
Week ahead: The Knights are at home all week, hosting Syracuse at 7:04 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then facing Louisville at 7:04 p.m. Friday and in a 1:05 p.m./7:04 p.m. day-night doubleheader Saturday. The Knights are off Sunday because of the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer doubleheader that day at nearby Bank of America Stadium. Charlotte opens a road trip next Monday in Durham.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle