BRADENTON, Fla. -- With starters playing deeper into games and the competition for roster spots heating up, the Pirates made another round of Spring Training roster cuts on Friday morning and sent five players across town to Pirate City.Pittsburgh optioned reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and infielder Chris Bostick to Triple-A Indianapolis
BRADENTON, Fla. -- With starters playing deeper into games and the competition for roster spots heating up, the Pirates made another round of Spring Training roster cuts on Friday morning and sent five players across town to Pirate City.
Pittsburgh optioned reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and infielder Chris Bostick to Triple-A Indianapolis and reassigned outfielder Barrett Barnes, infielder Erich Weiss and catcher Christian Kelley to Minor League camp.
Neverauskas, the Pirates' No. 24 prospect, has the best chance among that group of playing in Pittsburgh later this year. The 24-year-old right-hander climbed from Double-A to Triple-A last season, putting together a 3.10 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 58 innings over 47 appearances. He stepped into the national spotlight with an appearance in the All-Star Futures Game in San Diego.
Neverauskas is aiming to become the first player in Major League history to have been born and raised in Lithuania. After being added to the 40-man roster this offseason and pitching five times in his first big league camp this spring, that goal feels closer than ever.
"Picked up some things. I was able to meet with older guys, guys who have experience. I enjoyed it," Neverauskas said. "They put me on the 40-man for a reason -- to help the team win games and win the championship. I'm looking forward to that."
Bostick is also on the Pirates' 40-man roster and he could crack the big league club this summer as a super-utility player. He spent most of his time in the infield this spring, working at second, third and shortstop, but also moved into the outfield, even making one start in center field.
Barnes, the Bucs' No. 30 prospect, hit .200 in 25 at-bats over 14 games this spring. The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout second half in Double-A last season and finished the year with a .306/.377/.477 slash line in 124 games. Weiss went 1-for-4 with a solo homer in his final game Friday afternoon, an 8-6 loss to the Orioles.
Around the horn
• The Pirates had a few special guests at LECOM Park on Friday. Jon Gordon, a motivational author and speaker, met with the club in the morning. Hall of Fame hockey broadcaster and loyal Pirates fan Mike "Doc" Emrick stepped into the ROOT Sports' broadcast booth with Greg Brown and John Wehner. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert were also at camp.
• Francisco Cervelli made his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk while working six innings behind the plate.
• Utility man Alen Hanson started Friday at second base, John Jaso played right field and non-roster invitee Eric Wood made a rare start at first. Hanson went 3-for-5 with an infield hit, a bunt single and a double.
"It's part of the skill set that we don't have a lot of," Hurdle said. "The speed, the ability to steal a base, the ability to put down a bunt, beat out an infield hit, score from first - he can do some things on the bases that we don't have a lot of. … His game's in a good place right now. He's competing well."
• Right-handers Casey Sadler (14 pitches) and Angel Sanchez (18 pitches) worked after starter Trevor Williams in a "B" game against the Orioles on Friday morning.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.