Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia made his long-awaited pro baseball debut Tuesday, tossing 2.2 innings for the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League squad in a 10-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The 16-year-old Heredia, who signed a contract with Pittsburgh last August for a reported $2.6 million, did not have the greatest of starts, allowing two runs on one hit while walking three Jays batters without a strikeout.
Heredia fared reasonably well over the first two innings, holding Toronto hitless as the Jays’ Angel Gomez reached base on an error by Pirates shortstop Alen Hanson in the first and Seth Connor got on board with a walk in the second frame.
Things got tougher for Heredia in the third, however. After retiring the first two batters to make it eight outs recorded among the first ten hitters faced, the 6’6” righty from Mazatlan hit Gomez with a pitch. Then, with Dickie Thon, Jr. batting, Gomez stole second and third before Thon was walked. Heredia then issued a free pass to Kevin Patterson to load the bases for Toronto, setting the table for Santiago Nessy’s two-run line-drive single to center. At that point, Pittsburgh skipper Tom Prince replaced Heredia with former Texas Tech hurler Robert Kilcrease.
Still, the Pirates had to be pleased that although Heredia’s control left something to be desired, he only allowed the one Nessy single. Heredia chose to sign with Pittsburgh after reportedly receiving interest from ten MLB organizations. Ironically, Toronto was said to have offered Heredia even more than the Pirates, but the youngster’s long-term friendship with Pirates scout Jesus “Chino” Valdez was enough the seal the deal for the Buccos.