Aug. 22, 2000
Notre Dame righthanded pitcher Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has returned to campus for his senior season, after electing not to sign with the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball.
Heilman-who attended his first class of the 2000 fall semester this morning, thus voiding the Twins’ rights to sign him-will meet with the media today at 1:00 p.m., at the Eck Baseball Stadium indoor practice facility.
Heilman was the Twins’ second pick in the 2000 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft and was the 31st overall player selected, as the first “sandwich” pick as a compensatory selection between the first and second rounds.
The Twins earlier had signed their first-round selection and the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, righthander Adam Johnson (formerly of Cal State Fullerton).
Heilman is the only three-year All-American in Notre Dame baseball history and is the seventh Irish baseball player that has elected to return for his senior season after being selected in the primary Major League draft (since 1965). The others have included: LHP Dan McGinn (’65, 12th round, St. Louis), RHP Robert Bentley (’66, 30th rd, Minnesota Twins), LHP Chris Michalak (’92, 15th rd, Oakland Athletics), RHP Craig Allen (’95, 74th rd, Los Angeles), OF Mike Amrhein (’96, 99th rd, N.Y. Yankees) and C Jeff Wagner (’98, 50th rd, Toronto Blue Jays).
During the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri, the Notre Dame baseball program has lost six recruits and seven other draft-eligible players to professional baseball before they completed their eligibility at Notre Dame. That group includes 1999-2000 signee Bob Keppel (a RHP who signed with the N.Y. Mets as the 36th overall pick) and Michael Restovich, who signed with the Twins in 1997 just days before he was set to begin his freshman-year classes at Notre Dame.
The 1996, ’98 and ’99 seasons each saw a pair of Notre Dame players sign professional contracts prior to beginning their senior season.
Comments from Heilman’s media session will be released later today.