Luis Heredia Hasn’t Pitched in Over Two Weeks While the Pirates Get Him in Better Shape

Luis Heredia has not thrown a pitch off a mound since March 3rd. I first noticed that Heredia was out of action for a long period of time last week, when I was trying to find out when he would be throwing his next bullpen session so that I could get video of him throwing. I unsuccessfully tried getting information on when the next bullpen would be, then looked back over my notes to see that he hadn’t thrown since a bullpen session on March 3rd.

After following up on this issue, there’s no clear answer to why Heredia is out. He is listed in red on the roster sheets, but not with the rehab group, meaning he is limited, but able to play. I asked Heredia and Pirates’ Farm Director Larry Broadway if he was injured, and if there were any lingering issues from his shoulder injury last year. Both said no.

Broadway said that Heredia has been out in order to get in better shape.

“He’s just getting in better shape,” Broadway said. “He’s getting ready to compete, and wasn’t in a good enough spot yet. We wanted to take him out. He’s still throwing and everything, but we wanted to take an opportunity to get him in better shape before we started going on to the season.”

That’s a concern if you remember that he had similar issues two years ago. He was slated for West Virginia to start the 2013 season, but was shut down and held back in extended Spring Training after showing up to camp weighing 280 pounds. Heredia lost 40 pounds heading into the 2014 season, and looks to be in good shape this year. He downplayed the time off and the connection to the issue two years ago.

“I’ll be ready for the start of the season,” Heredia said. “It’s no big deal like two years ago.”

Broadway wouldn’t say when Heredia will throw off the mound again. Heredia said he thought he had one more week of workouts before he started back up. Both have said that he is still throwing, indicating his long toss program.

At this point it seems unlikely that Heredia will be ready for the start of the season. The minor league games started today, and to give an example of where pitchers are currently with their innings, Steven Brault and Jason Creasy both pitched two innings today. Brault is slated to start the year in Bradenton, with Creasy going to Altoona.

Brault threw his first bullpen session on March 4th, and his second on March 7th. He threw a one inning live batting practice on March 10th, and a two inning live batting practice on the 13th. He threw another bullpen session on the 15th, before throwing his two innings today.

Creasy had a similar progression. He threw a bullpen on March 3rd, and one more bullpen before throwing a live batting practice on the 9th. He went two innings in a live batting practice on March 12th. After a bullpen session on the 14th, he went two innings today.

Both pitchers had about two weeks from the time of their first bullpen session, to the time they threw their first live game. From here, pitchers usually build up their innings count in each start — with one start at three innings, one at four innings, and two at five innings — before they are ready for the season.

Heredia hasn’t thrown a bullpen since March 3rd. If he started up again tomorrow, and went on the same schedule that Brault and Creasy went on (which is a standard schedule for all starters), then he would be ready to pitch in a live game around the start of April. From there, he would have about four more starts, which would likely delay his 2015 debut until the end of April.

This is only speculation, as I don’t know what the plan is for Heredia. What I do know is that he hasn’t thrown off the mound since March 3rd, both he and Broadway say he’s not injured, and both say he needs to get in shape, with no real timetable given on when he will return to the mound.

  • Isn’t that what the off season is for – to get in playing/pitching shape? I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think this kid is going to amount to anything.

    • To be fair to him, he didnt show up in totally bad shape. So there is some grey area as far as him showing up and being in shape vs. the team thinking he isnt totally ready to go pitch. Young enough that i still hold out hope that he really is just trying to find out a system that works for him while also adding muscle where it is needed, but dang.

  • Based on the fact that he looks thinner this year, I would guess he actually stuck to the program and tried to get in shape, but that some muscle group is lacking, be it from the shoulder rehab holding him back or some other reason. Unless he performs poorly this year, I will withhold concern.

  • Looks like we get to keep hoping at some point a light goes off for him and he starts being more consistent with getting in shape over the offseason. Still so young, but cmon man.

  • Lee Foo Young
    March 18, 2015 4:58 pm

    Like I’ve said before….anything we get out of him would be a bonus. I have a feeling he’ll be out of our org in a couple of years. It would’ve been nice had he come around, but he hasn’t and I doubt he will.

    Maybe the light will come on in another org!

  • The clock is ticking for Heredia. After this season he’ll be eligible for the rule-5 draft but obviously he wouldn’t be selected (unless he is lights out this year in Bradenton, gets promoted to Altoona and does well there too). If he doesn’t do well this year, he probably won’t be added to the 40-man. After that I think he’ll be eligible for minor league free agency in 2017 or 2018 which means he’ll have to be added to the 40-man before then, otherwise he’ll probably be let go. Hopefully he turns things around.

  • Patrick Kelly
    March 18, 2015 3:24 pm

    I think some of you guys might be overreacting to this just a touch. As Tim mentioned he looks to be in good shape coming in. This might just be the Bucs trying to get him in even better shape to be successful this year. Had he come into camp significantly overweight again, I would consider this a problem. But if it is just simple conditioning/lifting that they think will lead to him being a better pitcher this year I’m all for it.

    • I suppose it is good to stay positive about a prospect but Heredia is 20 years old now and has been around the Pirates organization for 3 or 4 years, he should be coming into camp ready to go like other players, namely Brault and Creasy. From what I’ve read and heard, the Pirates trust their players to prepare for the season on their own and follow whatever workout plan they come up with. In this situation, it seems like Heredia hasn’t done his part in preparing for the season and now the Pirates have to monitor him and hold him in extended spring training until he is ready. I think this is a worrying sign that something is wrong, what that could be is unclear as it could be immaturity, lack of commitment or laziness. Or who knows, maybe Heredia is living in a bad environment during the off-season that makes it hard for him to keep to the off-season plan.

      • SP: How can we give a guy a $2.6 mil bonus and then leave him out there on his own to get into playing shape? Especially when we should know he does not have the mental toughness to help himself! Once could just be a case of the dumbass, but twice in 3 years? Is counselling spelled with 2 L’s?

        • I’m not sure what you mean by your question, specifically what do you mean by “leave him out there on his own”? Developing off season plans and keeping in touch with players isn’t leaving them out there on their own. Are you suggesting the Pirates should micromanage his life during the off-season? Assuming something so drastic would even work, the player still has to commit and apply himself, which may be part of the problem. I really don’t know what exactly the problem is, all I know is other players are ready to go and Heredia is not. Do I think the Pirates should give up on him, no, he very well can turn things around and learn from his experience so far and obviously the Pirates did commit a signing bonus. As I mention in a different post though, Heredia may only have 3 or 4 years at most to turn things around and he still has a long way to go in order to reach the majors (assuming that was actually his goal when he signed).
          .
          When he did sign so early (age 16 I think), it was hoped that having an early start would allow him plenty of time to reach the majors, and now that he’s down to about half the time and he still has so much left to accomplish, it is disappointing. Oh well, sometimes you win some and most of the time you lose some. I still do hope he figures things out and gets back on track.

        • Oh, sorry, I re-read what I wrote and I can see where the confusion might be.
          .
          To clarify what I’ve read and heard, the Pirates work with each player on developing an off-season program and what is expected of the player. Additionally, the Pirates keep in touch with the player one way or another once or twice (or perhaps more often) over the off-season to see how they are doing with the program. So I don’t doubt that the Pirates had everything set up and planned out with Heredia on what he would do in the off-season in order to be ready to start this year. The fact that Heredia isn’t ready says something went wrong and from the sounds of what Tim is reporting, it would seem Heredia didn’t do his part.

          • SP: And, after his showing up in 2013 extremely overweight, we SHOULD know he has offseason commitment issues. I doubt that Pirate City or the facility in the Dominican shut down during the offseason. If a player exhibits a poor offseason work ethic, we should have the ability to force that player to adhere to scheduled periodic workouts at either of those facilities, especially someone who had been injured (shoulder) the previous season – possibly a week in November and another in early January.

  • Pitiful

  • Paulie Corleone
    March 18, 2015 2:59 pm

    So disappointing. You would think that by now this guy would understand the commitment and dedication it takes to be a professional athlete.

  • Yikes. What a mess Heredia has become. Too bad Houston didn’t accept that Heredia for Bud Norris trade a few summers back. Norris is nothing special, but he’s a lot more valuable than what Heredia has become.

    • Dante Moreno
      March 19, 2015 9:41 am

      you are a complete moron, Bud Norris is a solid #3 if not #2. He is way better than Charlie Morton and we wouldnt have to deal with Morton’s constant injuries and groudballs getting lit up. Also Bud Norris, dat name perfect for Pittsburgh, cant say hard working, Blue Collar in a better name than Bud Norris. Heredia is a commmunist

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