Heredia Hoping For The Best

Heredia expects to make a full recovery

TAMPA, FL - Right-handed pitcher Jairo Heredia was in the midst of finally having the breakout season in 2011 many had been eagerly anticipating but he went down with a shoulder injury at the end of June. Requiring surgery and scheduled to return sometime this season, he is working his way back and he is hoping to pick up right where he left off.

He made his last start on June 28th last year before requiring shoulder labrum surgery, thus ending his 8-2, 3.29 ERA season with a strikeout per inning pitched.

"I was happy last season," Heredia said through the help of a translator. "Obviously I was doing good and I got down [emotionally] after the injury. It's not in my hands, it's in God's hands. It happened and I just have to move forward from there."

He is moving forward right now, long-tossing from both 90 and 120 feet, and he should be back up on the rehab mound sometime in April during Extended Spring Training.

"I feel a lot better. I'm a lot healthier and stronger. I'm working out hard and I'm excited to get back on the field.

"They haven't said when I'll be back on the full mound. I'm just taking it slowly and we'll see how it goes."

Barring any setbacks and if all goes well he could start facing some live batters in late May or early June, and there's a realistic chance he gets back into real game action by the All Star break.

"I feel good about the rehab," he said with a smile. "It's slowly getting there and I'm confident I'm going to get back [to where I was] and be a big leaguer someday.

"My arm doesn't bother me because I started earlier in the Dominican doing my rehab instead of waiting to come here [in Tampa]."

He says he can feel the strength coming back in his shoulder and arm, albeit just long-tossing, but he fully expects to make a full return in 2012.

"I would have loved to have started the season out of Spring Training but I know that's not going to happen so I'm just making the best out of it. Hopefully when I return I'll have the kind of season that I had last year," he concluded.

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