PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added a pair of prospects to their 40-man roster on Saturday, protecting them from Minor League free agency and keeping them in Pittsburgh's plans.
The Bucs selected the contracts of right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas and first baseman/outfielder Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis. Neverauskas, 23, is the Pirates' No. 23 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, while the 23-year-old Osuna ranks 28th on their top 30 list.
Neverauskas, a reliever who split last season between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis, is now one call away from becoming the first born-and-raised Lithuanian in the Majors. The Pirates signed him out of Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2009, beginning his long journey from gravel-filled soccer fields to a big league roster.
Neverauskas, who pitched in this year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in San Diego, posted a 3.10 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 58 innings this season. He might have made his Major League debut in September, but he was suspended at the end of the Triple-A season after being arrested for his involvement in a fight outside a bar in Toledo, Ohio.
Osuna doesn't have as clear of a path to the Majors as Neverauskas -- not with Pittsburgh's crowded outfield and first-base position. He hit .279/.331/.457 with 13 homers and 69 RBIs in 133 games this season for Altoona and Indianapolis, completing a two-year jump from Class A Advanced Bradenton all the way to Triple-A.
Osuna can play either first base or a corner-outfield spot, which enhances his versatility off the bench, and he tends to put the ball in play, recording 80 strikeouts and 36 walks in 517 plate appearances this year.
Having spent parts of the past seven seasons in the Minors, both players would have become free agents next week if they had not been added to the Pirates' 40-man roster.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.