By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
It has been a season of highs and lows for catcher Tyler Heineman. Through it all, though, he has conducted himself as a consummate professional.
The 29-year-old switch-hitter from Pacific Palisades started behind the plate for San Francisco in the Giants’ season opener at Dodger Stadium. On August 1, he got to play against his younger brother Scott (an outfielder with the Texas Rangers) for the first time in the Major Leagues and two weeks later he even got to pitch an inning in a blowout loss to the Bay Area rival Oakland A’s.
Then, on August 20, Heineman was optioned to the team’s Alternate Training Site in Sacramento when hot prospect Joey Bart was called up for his Major League debut.
That same day, Heineman tweeted: “Congrats Joey! So awesome. Good luck and have fun. You earned it.”
As of Monday, Heineman had appeared in 13 games for the Giants this season, with eight hits (including a double), three runs, one RBI, nine total bases and four walks and six strikeouts in 41 at-bats (a .195 batting average).
Heineman had been splitting time with fellow catcher Chadwick Tromp and appears first in line if either Bart or Tromp suffers an injury.
Heineman was a free agent when he signed with San Francisco in early January and was invited to spring training. He was assigned to the Sacramento River Cats on January 7 and was moved to the Giants’ Alternate Training Site 12 days later.
The Giants took two of three games from Texas when the teams met earlier this season and Tyler doubled and scored San Francisco’s final run in the second game, a 7-3 Giants victory. In that same game, Scott belted his first home run of the season, a 337-foot blast off reliever Sam Selman.
Tyler and Scott, 27, made their major league debuts last season, Scott as an outfielder with Texas in August and Tyler as a pinch hitter with the Miami Marlins a month later. They became the 396th set of siblings to play in the Major Leagues.
The brothers grew up on Radcliffe in the Via Bluffs and were teammates for one season in the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association before switching to the Santa Monica Little League.
They faced each other in the minor leagues and before that, in 2012, their college teams clashed when Tyler was a senior catcher at UCLA and Scott was a freshman third baseman for Oregon. That time, Scott’s Ducks took two out of three games from the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Selected by the Houston Astros in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB draft, Tyler played five games for Miami in 2019, hitting his first MLB homer Sept. 26 off the Mets’ Zack Wheeler. He played for Windward School, setting the team’s single-season record for batting average (.619) as a junior.
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