Pittsburgh fans had to wait until the second half of the season to see Luis Heredia make his full-season debut, but it was worth the wait.
The Pirates' No. 5 prospect allowed one hit over five innings in the Class A West Virginia Power's 8-0 shutout of the visiting Lakewood BlueClaws.
Heredia was assigned to the South Atlantic League on Wednesday the day after the All-Star game when Stetson Allie, Joely Rodriguez and Orlando Castro were promoted to Class A Advanced Bradenton.
The native of Mexico had been held back in extended spring training until last week to work on breaking pitches and manage his pitch count, it was reported.
He tossed 66 1/3 innings last season with short-season State College, but he was never allowed to go more than five innings, which he did in 10 of his 14 games. It is anticipated he will be kept on similar restrictions this season to enable him to pitch the entire second half in West Virginia.
The 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out five batters, issued four walks and hit a batter. He worked with men on base in every inning, although no BlueClaws baserunner reached third.
The lone hit allowed by Heredia was a two-out single to Larry Greene in the second inning, but he got catcher Chace Numata to lift a fly ball to left field to escape unscathed.
MLB.com's No. 92 prospect was signed by the Pirates as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. The youngest player in the New York-Penn League, he went 4-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 14 starts for the Spikes last year. In 2011, he was 1-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances, including 11 starts, for Pittsburgh's Gulf Coast League affiliate.
On Sunday, Thomas Harlan worked around three hits and a walk while striking out three batters over three frames of relief and Jhondaniel Medina worked a perfect ninth to seal the shutout.
West Virginia right fielder Walker Gourley was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a walk, four runs scored and an RBI out of the No. 2 spot, and shortstop Max Moroff collected three hits -- including a pair of doubles -- in the win.
Lakewood starter Miguel Nunez (5-5) allowed three runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and a walk while striking out six batters over five innings.