ATLANTA --Dovydas Neverauskas will get a chance to show if he can be a successful major-league relief pitcher. Again.
The Pirates called up the right-hander from Class AAA Indianapolis prior to Tuesday night’s game with the Braves at SunTrust Park. Alex McRae was optioned to Indy.
The Pirates wanted to get a fresh reliever on the roster after the bullpen pitched 7 2/3 innings Monday night in a 13-7 loss to the Braves in the wake of Joe Musgrove's first-inning ejection. McRae followed Musgrove and pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs.
Neverauskas has an 18.90 ERA in five games with the Pirates this season, and a 6.79 mark in 54 games over the last two seasons. Conversely, the 26-year-old posted a 2.29 ERA and five saves in 16 games with Indianapolis this year.
Clint Hurdle said the Pirates want Neverauskas to improve his pitch sequencing because they would like to be able to use him for multiple innings.
“We’ve tried to mix up his usage patterns and make it a little more similar to what might take place here,” Hurdle said. “He’s gone down and continued to do very, very well. We’re looking for an elixir to put him in position to have similar success as to what he’s had down there, and so is he. It’s an opportunity for him to get the ball and find some consistent results.”
McRae pitched four times in relief for the Pirates and had a 9.76 ERA.
Neverauskas has a great arm. At some point, though, he must get major-league hitters out or the Pirates are going to have to move on, much like they did last Saturday when Nick Kingham was designated for assignment.
McRae did a yeoman’s job in eating up innings Monday night. However, his 9.76 ERA doesn’t cut it in the big leagues.