No Dutch baseball news this time. But this news is special enough to be mentioned. The Pittsburgh Pirates have called up Dovydas Neverauskas. With this transaction, Neverauskas will be the first born and raised Lithuanian pitcher in the Major League.
Neverauskas comes from the tiny Baltic state Lithuania that borders Russia on the East and the Baltic Sea on the West. A country where even fewer people play baseball than in the Netherlands.
Neverauskas played in Lithuania under his father, who was a baseball coach. He was signed at the age of 17 and debuted in professional baseball in 2010 in the Gulf Coast League. In the first years of his career, Neverauskas hovered around A ball as he still was in A Full season in 2015 but last season he surged and moved very quickly through AA on his way to AAA.
He throws hard. In the short season so far, he did not allow a run in five appearances, gave up three runs on four hits, struck out seven and kept his opponents to a batting average of .138 in 8.1 innings pitched. He also kept his WHIP way below 1 (0.84).Last night Neverauskas debuted with the Pirates vs the Chicago Cubs in a game in which the Pirates were no match for the Cubs. Neverauskas pitched two full frames and allowed one run on two hits and struck out one.
The tweet below shows Neverauskas’ first MLB strikeout.
I wonder how much attention Neverauskas’ debut will get in his home country. Let’s hope that this will spur the sport of baseball in Lithuania.