Heredia Is Back

Heredia is excited to be pitching once again

TAMPA, FL - The depth of the Yankees pitching at the minor league level is about to get a little bit deeper as right-hander Jairo Heredia -- who missed all of 2012 -- is set to make his official return to the mound on Saturday.

He has not pitched in a game since June 28th of 2011 when he was then part of the Tampa Yankees rotation. He went 8-2 with a 3.29 ERA and a strikeout per inning that season before going down with shoulder surgery.

It has been a long, arduous rehab since his surgery a year and a half ago but now he says he's ready to begin his full return to the mound.

"I feel really great right now," he said. "I'm working hard over here [at the minor league complex] on my pitching and everything. I feel good, very good. I'm ready for Saturday right now."

He has been throwing side bullpen sessions for a couple of months now and he will make his return to games on Saturday during intrasquads.

"I'm very excited because I'm back," he continued. "It has been one and half years since I last pitched [in a game] so I'm back now.

"It's very exciting. I'm ready for everything. Right now it's about getting back into competition -- there's no more rehab."

It has been so long though since he last pitched competitively that, while he feels very strong, he realizes it could be a little while before the zip comes back on his fastball, a pitch that was sitting in the low-90s prior to his injury.

"My power is not 100 percent right now," he admitted. "My power is about 80 percent right now but maybe when I pitch more in games and get my confidence back I'll get back to where I was in 2011."

Still though, he was known more for his devastating curveball-changeup combination more than his power fastball anyway coming up through the minor leagues and on that front he could not be more excited.

"My changeup is good right now and so is my curveball," he said with a huge smile. "The location of my fastball is good.

"I'm throwing strikes, I'm working hard everyday for my location, and the concentration for my curveball is there. My curveball is even better right now [than before]."

He says he plans on being patient in regards to the power coming back with his fastball. He fully believes it is just a matter of time before that comes back to normal velocity levels and once it does come back he believes he can pick up right where he left off in 2011.

"I think maybe this year coming up is [going to be] the best year for me. I feel 100 percent right now health-wise. I'm very excited," he concluded.

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