Absent Buster Posey (and Joey Bart), the Giants’ catchers are heavy on endearing, one heartwarming story following another.
A day after Chadwick Tromp’s first career hit and RBI, when the Aruba-born 25-year-old wore a smile as well as his mask, it was Tyler Heineman’s turn for a moment he would not forget.
The 29-year-old from Southern California will be matching up against a 27-year-old Rangers outfielder from Southern California. Yes, Tyler knows Scott Heineman a bit.
The brothers will be facing off for the first time in a major league game in Tyler Heineman’s 11th big-league game, having debuted last September with Miami. Suddenly on a team without Posey, Tyler externally almost feels like a veteran.
“I’d be very happy with him going 0-for-4 with four lineouts to somewhere hard so he gets good spring training at-bats but Giants come up with the W,” Tyler Heineman said over Zoom before the Oracle Park matchup.
The two will not have to wait long to see each other. Texas manager Chris Woodward talked to Gabe Kapler about their roles being replaced by the Heinemen prior to the game. Instead of the managers talking with the umpires about ground rules, when in other years lineup cards would be exchanged, the wide-eyed brothers will represent each team.
Lineup cards are not the only thing to disappear this year. Any other time, their family would be packing the park to see a rare piece of history. Tyler said their father contacted “every single person that I know” once both players knew Thursday night they would be in Friday’s lineup.
“My dad is probably extremely nervous, as well as my mom,” said Tyler, who has started off nicely in his short Giants tenure, slashing .294/.400/.294 in five games, the closest candidate the Giants have to an everyday catcher.
Tyler Heineman takes things slowly, having spent eight seasons in the minors before finally getting a taste of the majors and conscious the opportunity could slip away at any point. Looking ahead, he said, is “when I can get in my head and get in my own way.”
And yet, he could look ahead to a few hours, to a moment he and his brother dreamt of as kids in Pacific Palisades.
“It’s going to be special for sure. I’m very excited about it. I have some nerves,” Heineman said. “… I haven’t really let it sink in too much.”
Here’s the full lineup facing Rangers righty Jordan Lyles:
1. Mike Yastrzemski, CF
2. Alex Dickerson, LF
3. Donovan Solano, 2B
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Pablo Sandoval, DH
7. Brandon Crawford, SS
8. Tyler Heineman, C
9. Steven Duggar, RF