He might be one of the lesser known players in camp for the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring, but back in his native Merida, pitcher Eduardo Vera is starting to reach rock star status.
After throwing two shutout innings in his Spring Training debut in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday, that popularity will only continue to grow, writes Pirates Prospects.
The 24-year-old, 6-foot-2 right-hander is looking to become the first player ever from Yucatan to reach the majors and his local media has been following his recent journey closely.
“Everything he did this summer received an article in his local papers. He was covered daily this winter as well, but things really took off when it was officially announced that he received a Spring Training invite,” says Prospects’ John Dreker.
“I search twice daily for any news concerning the Pittsburgh Pirates, and each time I search both in English and Spanish,” Dreker writes. “I have probably read over 100 articles on Vera in the last two years, most of them just small bits of news, but his popularity, and just how much he means to the Yucatan, really didn’t hit me until this spring.”
“It was a great experience pitching with a LECOM Park full of fans,” Vera said after Monday’s game at the spring training home for the Pirates. “I went out just trying to do my job and everything worked out and got the win for the team which was a great feeling. Everything has been so good, even having breakfast with guys I use to see only on TV.”
While attracting little fanfare in Bradenton, there is a population of over 2 million in Yucatan getting daily updates as he inches closer to a possible Major League debut.
Vera mainly flew under the radar in the U.S. because an ill-timed injury in late March of 2015, which resulted in Tommy John surgery. He missed nearly two seasons. But he returned as a much better pitcher in 2017 and his local media quickly took notice, leading up to this point, writes Dreker.
“Being the first player from Yucatan to make it to the big leagues represents a lot of pride for me,” Vera said. “I’m proud of being Mexican and if I can make history by being the first one from Yucatán it would be a dream come true. I’ve worked really hard for it and I think it’s my time.”