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Pirates add Neverauskas, Osuna to 40-man roster

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have added right-handed reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and first baseman/outfielder Jose Osuna to their 40-man roster.  Both players would have become minor league free agents in a couple days if they hadn't been added.

Osuna signed with the Pirates out of Venezuela in 2009.  He was 16 when he signed and won't turn 24 for another month.  Originally a pitcher, he was an outfielder by the time he signed.  With Gregory Polanco and Willy Garcia playing on the same teams as him, the Pirates moved Osuna to first in 2012.  He's become a very solid defender at first and has also seen some time more recently back in the outfield due to Josh Bell.  He doesn't have much range there.  At the plate, Osuna consistently hit decently, but not as well as you'd want from a corner player, with a good hit tool but only modest power.  That finally changed with a mid-season promotion this year to AAA.  Osuna put up a 291/333/482 line at Indianapolis, significantly out-hitting the very similar, but much older, Jason Rogers.  The Pirates nevertheless called Rogers up in September rather than Osuna, but it seems likely now that Osuna will supplant Rogers on the depth chart.  Osuna hammered LHPs this year and projects as a bench bat or platoon player.

Neverauskas, who'll turn 24 a month after Osuna, signed out of Lithuania in 2009.  The Pirates tried for years to develop him as a starter, but he was plagued by poor command and inconsistent velocity.  After a rough season in low A in 2014, the Pirates moved Neverauskas to the bullpen early in 2015.  He opened 2016 at Altoona and dominated there, showing consistent mid-90s, sometimes upper-90s, velocity and a good slider, and fanning over ten batters per nine innings.  Neverauskas struggled off and on after a mid-season promotion to AAA.  He may have lost a chance at a September callup when he got arrested, along with Gift Ngoepe, in a bar fight in Toledo.  (From reports, it appeared that Ngoepe was the more culpable of the two.)  Neverauskas probably needs more time in AAA, but he should be a bullpen option for the Pirates very soon.