Former SF Giants catcher Tyler Heineman was caught in the middle of a dangerous situation on Sunday when a benches-clearing brawl broke out between the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A affiliate) and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRides (New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate). Heineman has split his 2021 season between Lehigh and the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A affiliate. He is hitting .265/.346/.301 with zero home runs.
Heineman was catching for the Iron Pigs when pitcher David Paulino threw a fastball that hit RailRiders catcher Max McDowell. McDowell almost immediately tossed aside his helmet and charged the mound where Paulino squared up for a fight. Both players through one punch before Heineman, who was chasing down McDowell from behind, brought the opposing catcher to the ground and ensured the two players were separated. It has been speculated that the Iron Pigs were targetting McDowell in retaliation for a pitch from Luis Gil the previous inning that had missed up and in against Alec Bohm.
Former SF Giants catcher Tyler Heineman got caught in the middle of a brawl.
When Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Giants were forced into an uncomfortable situation. Heineman and Chadwick Tromp had been acquired the previous offseason to compete for the backup catcher spot behind Posey. When the future Hall of Famer opted out, they were volleying for the everyday job.
Tromp and Heineman had their moments in 2020, but neither player produced at the level team executives hoped. Heineman finished 2020 with a .190/.292/.214 triple-slash across 50 plate appearances for the Giants. Eventually, as the Giants contended for a postseason berth, the organization called up top prospect Joey Bart to try and fill the void.
Former SF Giants catcher Tyler Heineman and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will be back in action against the Syracuse Mets on Tuesday.