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Pirates claim catcher Tyler Heineman, DFA Andrew Knapp among flurry of recent moves

Heineman joins Michael Perez as the Pirates’ second catcher on the MLB roster

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
Tyler Heineman as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have made a flurry of transactions this week resulting in multiple changes to the Major League roster.

Catcher Tyler Heineman was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. Andrew Knapp was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Heineman, 30, had four hits in 15 at-bats including one RBI with the Blue Jays this season. He has only played sparingly in 2022, combining for 12 games between the majors and Triple-A.

Knapp remained in a backup role following Roberto Perez’s injury and Michael Perez’s promotion to the big league club.

Knapp only hit .129 in 11 games (31 at-bats) with four hits, three walks, and two runs batted in.

The transaction is one of many made by the organization in the past week, shaking up the roster at both ends of the battery.

Left-handed reliever Sam Howard was DFA’ed on May 7 to make room on the 40-man roster for Michael Perez and was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers on May 13.

Howard pitched lights out for the Bucs in 2020 but struggled to regain similar form in 2021. He threw 21 total innings allowing 17 hits and nine walks with 27 strikeouts in 22 total games.

Howard’s 3.86 ERA ballooned to 5.60 in 45 innings last season. Walks were a major factor in why the lefty struggled, allowing 32 free passes compared to 34 hits.

He was injured to begin 2022 and was sent to Triple-A once activated. Howard allowed two runs in only three major-league innings after being recalled on May 2.

Pittsburgh claimed right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on May 12 and was activated the next day. Recent recall Beau Sulser was let go as a result of Beede’s addition.

The newest Pirate owns a career 5.39 ERA and did not pitch in the Majors during the 2020 campaign following Tommy John surgery in 2019. He appeared in six games (9.2 innings) before being designated with five runs allowed, six walks, and four punchouts.

Beede, 28, was a 2014 first-round pick (No. 14 overall) by San Francisco out of Vanderbilt. He made his MLB debut on April 10, 2018, and is under club control through the 2025 season.

Sulser was added by the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday once let go by Pittsburgh. Sulser had been in the Pirates organization since being drafted in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB draft.

He allowed nine runs (four earned) in 9.2 innings with six walks and struck out 10 batters. Sulser owns a 4.04 ERA and .266 opponent batting average in 116 Minor League games (39 starts) spanning five seasons including 2022.