Frazier placed on DL; Neverauskas debuts

Righty became the first Lithuanian-born player in the Majors on Monday

April 24th, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Monday placed utility man on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain and recalled reliever from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Frazier's stint on the disabled list is retroactive to Sunday, but the injury has been a nagging issue since the Pirates and Cubs met at Wrigley Field on April 15. Manager Clint Hurdle said the pain subsided but flared up again in St. Louis last week. Frazier did not play in the Bucs' 2-1 win over the Yankees on Sunday.

"Things were coming and going. He got a day off and felt good enough to play," Hurdle said. "The last couple days, it's just worsened up."

Frazier has been one of Pittsburgh's most productive hitters early this season, and he was set to take on a bigger role with outfielder suspended for 80 games. Frazier is batting .306/.370/.449 in 15 games.

Unless the Pirates add another position player in the coming days, and figure to split time in right field with Phil Gosselin and backing up at second, third and shortstop.

Rather than replace Frazier with another position player, the Pirates called up Neverauskas to reinforce their relief corps. The decision paid off when recorded only five outs in the Bucs' 14-3 loss to the Cubs. covered four innings, picked up four outs and the final two innings went to Neverauskas.

"Pretty much played out perfectly the way it does because we're out of pitching unless you'd like to use [setup man Daniel] Hudson or [closer Tony] Watson or use your other long man [Wade LeBlanc] when you've got coming up two days from now," Hurdle said. "You're really pushing your bullpen."

Neverauskas, the first born-and-raised Lithuanian to reach the Majors, received word early Monday that he was getting called up for the first time. It was an off-day for Triple-A Indianapolis, so he packed his bags and left immediately. He called his father, Virmidas, who taught him to play, and reached the PNC Park bullpen in the sixth inning. More > 

"I called my dad, called mom and said hey, I'm going to Pittsburgh. I don't know if they stayed up [to watch the game] or not," Neverauskas said. "My dad said he was expecting the callup, but not now -- a little bit later. He was happy."

Neverauskas allowed a run on two hits and struck out Cubs reliever in the eighth. He pitched a perfect ninth inning.

The 24-year-old right-hander didn't allow an earned run in 8 1/3 innings over five Triple-A appearances. Last season, Neverauskas posted a 3.10 ERA in 58 innings over 47 appearances for Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. He was named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Petco Park. He was suspended at the end of last season after he was arrested following a bar fight in Toledo, Ohio. The Pirates added him to their 40-man roster in November.

Neverauskas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, and signed with the Pirates as an international free agent on July 9, 2009. The only other Lithuanian-born player to appear in a Major League game is outfielder Joe Zapustas, who grew up in Boston and played for the Philadelphia A's in 1933.

What might this night have meant for people back in his home country?

"Better opportunities," Neverauskas said. "Just to see that baseball can be played in Lithuania, somebody can follow in my footsteps."