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Goeddel brothers to finally meet when Phillies host the Mets

NEW YORK - Tyler Goeddel remembers when he realized he could do it, too. He remembers the radar guns and the pro scouts hogging views behind home plate. Sometimes it was hard for parents to get seats. And Tyler remembers who was standing on the mound.

NEW YORK - Tyler Goeddel remembers when he realized he could do it, too. He remembers the radar guns and the pro scouts hogging views behind home plate. Sometimes it was hard for parents to get seats. And Tyler remembers who was standing on the mound.

Before his teens, Tyler watched his older brother, Erik, dominate the high school baseball circuit. And he saw the letters that came from "every college in the nation."

"That's what motivated me to know I want to go the same path," Tyler said.

Even with their lives immersed in baseball, the brothers have never played against each other at any level outside of Wiffle ball games in the backyard of their San Mateo, Calif., home. But that could change on Friday night, when the Mets visit Citizens Bank Park.

"It's so awesome. It's confusing what hat I wear," their sister, Heather Goeddel, said. "Am I ripping off a Mets hat when Tyler is at bat? It's pretty surreal."

They have taken different courses to reach the big leagues. Tyler, the 23-year-old Phillies outfielder, was selected by the Rays 41st overall out of high school in 2011, spent four years in the minor leagues and was picked up by the Phillies in December in the Rule 5 draft. He made his major league debut this season with the Phillies and is competing for an outfield spot.

Erik, the 27-year-old Mets reliever, battled arm injuries in high school and at UCLA and hasn't played a full season in the majors. He was drafted in the 24th round by the Mets in 2010 and played in the minors through 2013. He made his major league debut in September, 2014 and has been up and down with the Mets last season and this season.

Four years separate the two, so while Erik got involved in travel ball at age 12, Tyler started at 8. When Tyler saw the work Erik put in to become Baseball America's second-best high school prospect in the 2007 class, he wanted to emulate it. Before Tyler's major-league debut in April, Erik was his offseason trainer.

As they went from the backyard to the big leagues, Tyler learned from Erik. Around the time Erik had Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school, Tyler began prepping to be a position player full time. Tyler pitched growing up, but playing the field allowed him to avoid more threatening injuries and maximize his speed, said their father, David Goeddel.

When they played Wiffle ball growing up, Erik would pitch with his left hand to make it easier for his younger brother. But as they got older, their games intensified, and Erik wouldn't take it lightly.

"That made him better because he's against his older brother all the time, trying to beat me, and occasionally he would," Erik said. "It got the best out of both of us."

When emotions boiled over, Erik would chase Tyler. That's when the family realized Tyler had good speed, since Erik could never catch him, their father said.

Erik once missed a game when he was 13, so Tyler, 9 at the time, filled in. Tyler wore Erik's jersey, and it was noticeably baggy on him, David said.

The game was played on a field with 90 feet between bases, much larger than what Tyler was used to. The age group was 13- to 15-year olds. David expected him to strike out.

Tyler went 2 for 2.

"I was always a pretty good player," Erik said, "but then he'd get to the same age group, and he was always better."

Tyler has played sparingly of late with the Phillies and is batting .209 with 13 RBIs and 13 runs in 59 games this year. Erik has made 12 relief appearances for the Mets since getting called up on June 12 and has a 3.65 ERA. Both are fringe major-leaguers, and neither has fully established himself.

The brothers check each other's box scores and text every couple of days. When Tyler made the Phillies out of spring training, Erik gave him some advice, such as pitchers are a lot smarter in the big leagues, and there are more scouting reports available.

It took Erik nearly three years to recover from his elbow injuries before he shone in the 2010 College World Series for UCLA. He rarely spoke about what he planned to do after baseball. He was always set on his goal of making the majors since he was 10, and that created a template for Tyler.

"There's no awe factor [for Tyler]," said Rob Bruno, who coached both for four years each at the NorCal Baseball Club. "There's a path, and somebody before you took that path, and if they're related to you, gosh, it's a lot easier."

Last offseason, Tyler moved to Hermosa Beach, Calif., to train with Erik, who created a workout plan for him. Tyler wanted to bulk up, and Erik didn't hold back from pushing his brother as hard he could.

"I'm like, 'OK, you said it. Squatting three days a week. So get ready,' " Erik said.

"He would just kill me on the leg days," Tyler said.

The Mets and Phillies played in April, but Erik had a strained elbow during spring training, prolonging the brothers' first meeting.

The two went home to San Mateo for the all-star break and flew to Philadelphia together. Growing up, they were always playing in different tournaments in different cities.

Now, they'll finally play on the same field.

Tyler described the chance to finally face his brother as "a dream."

On Friday, it could be a reality.