Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia to start in rookie ball for the Pirates

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They’re letting a 16-year-old pitch professionally in the Pirates’ organization? And here I thought there were laws about exposing minors to obscenity …

That talent and maturity is why management’s plan for 2011 — though not yet formally announced — is to assign [Luis] Heredia to Bradenton of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, an extraordinary step for a player his age. The Pirates are known to have had only one previous 16-year-old at that level in the past 40 years.

Pirates joking aside, Heredia is one to watch. He made Keith Law’s list of guys who fell just short of his Top 100 prospects list, which is pretty spiffy for a 16-year-old.  He’s big and has big velocity for his or any other age.  When you consider how much growing 16-year-old athletes usually have ahead of them, the ceiling on Heredia seems to be high, high, high.

Rangers activate Elvis Andrus from disabled list

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The Rangers made a handful of roster moves on Monday, per the club’s executive VP of communications John Blake. Shortstop Elvis Andrus has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Catcher Jose Trevino was optioned to Double-A Frisco. And yesterday, outfielder Ryan Rua was optioned to Round Rock.

The big news, of course, is the return of Andrus. He missed over two months of action after suffering a fractured right elbow on April 11 when he was hit by a 97 MPH fastball. Andrus had gotten off to a good start, batting .327/.426/.500 in 61 plate appearances.

Jurickson Profar handled shortstop while Andrus was out and did an adequate job. While his defense was subpar according to the metrics, he hit .243/.315/.456 across 267 trips to the plate. With Andrus back, Profar will likely slide back into a utility role for the Rangers.