NEW YORK -- Several members of the family of Astros pitcher Kevin Chapman and Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker, who are cousins, will be at Citi Field for this weekend's series between the Mets and Astros. Chapman said the two are best friends.
"Our families are here, too, so I guess that makes it extra special," he said. "To be able to share this with them and facing my cousin in a big league stadium is pretty cool."
The two grew up together in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and were extremely close. They were born six months apart and attended the same high school and were roommates at the University of Florida. They were both drafted in 2010 -- Chapman in the fourth round by the Royals, and den Dekker in the fifth round by the Mets. They even made their Major League debuts within a few weeks of each other in August 2013.
"It's the same timeline in our life experiences and the same things that come along with this job," Chapman said. "We're able to talk about it with each other and see it from each other's perspective and bounce things off each other."
The two keep in constant contact via text message and talk on the phone every couple of weeks, Chapman said. When they were kids, Chapman would drive a boat to den Dekker's house because their neighborhoods shared the same canal.
"He's sort of like my brother because I never had a brother," Chapman said. "We were together every day, playing baseball or golfing or going to the beach or whatever. In that aspect, he's like my brother."
As far as what he's thrown den Dekker to try to get him out, Chapman joked before the game: "Can't tell you yet."
Chapman faced den Dekker in the bottom of the sixth Friday and walked him.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.