Lithuanian Steps Closer to Bigs

Dovydas Neverauskas took one giant step closer to his first appearance in the Majors this week. The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher was added to the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster. This is the last step before getting called up to the big leagues. As a result, Neverauskas will receive an automatic invitation to the MLB portion of Spring Training. During the 2016 season Dovydas went 4-4 with five saves and an ERA of 3.10 through 47 games. He struck out 56 and walked 22 in 58 innings. His career ERA is 4.21 over six seasons.

Neverauskas became the first Lithuanian professional baseball player in MLB history when he signed with the Pirates in 2010. He slowly climbed his way through the farm system of the club trying his luck as a starter. In 2015 he switched to the bullpen, to avoid an early release, and there he found his niche. Since then he has been moving quickly through the minor leagues, reaching AAA in 2016 and receiving an invitation to the Futures Game during the MLB All-Star Game week in San Diego.

Throwing up to 95 MPH, Dovydas was on the verge of making his MLB debut in September but a bar fight, after which he got arrested in Ohio with teammates, ended his season abruptly with a suspension by the Pirates for the final three games of the regular season. Before the fight, it was anticipated he would be added to the roster expansion upon the completion of his regular season in anticipation of post-season play. In September Neverauskas’ attorney was working with the courts to resolve the criminal case. The incident behind him, Dovydas is taking his next step forward in his career.