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Pirates minor league notebook: Pitcher Heredia finally hitting form

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Luis Heredia works out Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Luis Heredia works out Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
Sam Santilli | West Virginia Power - Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia delivers during a game with the Class A West Virginia Power.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sam Santilli  |  West Virginia Power</em></div>Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia delivers during a game with the Class A West Virginia Power.

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By Ryan Pritt
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the season winds down, West Virginia Power pitcher Luis Heredia is hitting midseason form.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound right-hander suffered a shoulder injury on the first pitch of his second start and was placed on the disabled list until June 4.

Since then, the results have been varied, but lately Heredia seems to be finding consistency.

In his last start Aug. 11, the day after his 20th birthday, he had possibly his best outing of the season, holding Augusta to three hits over seven shutout innings while striking out five.

“He's growing up,” pitching coach Jeff Johnson said. “He's learning how to take care of his business and taking some ownership in his career, which in the beginning is always difficult for them because they don't always know what they're up against.”

Heredia's stuff is undeniable, with a fastball lighting up the radar gun in the mid- to high-90s.

It's that stuff that convinced the Pirates to sign Heredia as an undrafted free agent out of Mexico at just 16 years old in 2010.

It also had Heredia ranked highly among Pirates prospects by several publications coming into the season.

Health permitting, Johnson believes Heredia is ready to live up to those expectations.

“He's starting on his own delivery now instead of me having to help him fix it all the time,” Johnson said. “His changeup plays really well. He's getting the ball on the ground consistently, so there's a lot of good stuff.”

Meadows shines

Outfielder Austin Meadows has shown the offensive ability that made him the Pirates' top pick in the 2013 draft and No. 9 overall.

Meadows is hitting at a .340 clip in the past 25 games and 100 at-bats, including seven doubles and a pair of home runs. He also has yet to make an error.

Borden honored

While Heredia is just hitting his stride, Buddy Borden is continuing his.

The right-hander picked up his second South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week award last week after finishing off a 2-0 stretch with 14 strikeouts and two walks.

His ERA sits at 3.16, second among all Power pitchers with at least 46 innings.

Around the diamond

Shortstop Jacoby Jones hit his 19th and 20th home runs of the season on Wednesday, including a walk-off. Those long balls moved him to second place on the all-time single-season Power home run list, trailing only Stephen Chapman's mark of 24 during the 2007 season. ... Catcher Reese McGuire leads the South Atlantic League in throwing out 42 would-be base stealers. He recently was named the best defensive catcher in the South Atlantic League by Baseball America.

Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.

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