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Athletics’ Catcher Jonah Heim Will Give Winter Ball Another Shot

Rookie catcher Jonah Heim catapulted into the Oakland Athletics picture with a big 2019 minor league season followed by an impressive stint at winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He’s on the Toros del Este roster again after getting just 13 regular season games, but just when the Dominican league will start is unclear.

As challenging as 2020 has been, Jonah Heim was up for the challenge.

The 24-year-old catcher made as impression in Spring Training I with the Oakland A’s, but before rosters could be set, COVID-19 shut down baseball for 3½ months. By the time there was baseball again, he’d have turned 25.

There was thought that he might make the roster when the season finally began; he didn’t, but he was with the team as part of the A’s taxi squad.

He was called up on Aug. 24 to be Sean Murphy’s backup. His first Major League hit came a day later and he got into 13 games in the final month, including a dozen starts. But he didn’t play at all in the A’s two post-season series.

As big as his year was, he still only saw game action those 13 times, so he’s opting to report to winter ball. For the second year running, he’ll get in some work with Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League.

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Or at least that's the plan. Heim's name was on the updated Toros del Este roster that came out this week. There is, however, no firm starting date for the Dominican League.

One of the reasons he was ready for stepping up in 2020 was the season of winter ball he spent with Toros del Este last time around. He had had a 2019 minor league slash line of .310/.385/.477 and then during the winter he produced a .301/.386/.411 slash line in 20 games.

Along the way, he honed his defensive skills

A’s manager Bob Melvin hadn’t seen Heim much before this year, but the winter league numbers helped the switch-hitting catcher get a foot in the door with the A’s.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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