Steven Brault has stepped out on the mound to pitch against some of the best baseball players the world has to offer.

Pitching for Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates, the 26-year-old has reached the pinnacle of the sport. But this week he returned to it's rawest form - hosting coaching sessions across New Zealand.

"Here in New Zealand there's less of a community for baseball obviously than there is in the States," he told the Herald, "so, once you can build a full community of people who can's going to boom."

With the introduction of the Auckland Tuatara to the Australian Baseball League this season, Brault said the sport would continue to grow in New Zealand.


"That's just how it works. As long as you have more people doing it, there's going to be more ideas, there's going to be people bouncing ideas of each other and that's how everybody grows together."

Just two weeks out from the Tuatara's ABL debut, the team continues to stack its roster.

The side today announced the signing of yet another Major League Baseball prospect, with young Chinese outfielder Xu Guiyuan from the Baltimore Orioles.

The 22-year-old has been with the Orioles since 2015, spending the most recent season developing his craft at the minor league level.

Xu Guiyuan has joined the Auckland Tuatara. Photo / Getty Images
Xu Guiyuan has joined the Auckland Tuatara. Photo / Getty Images

With the ability to cover first base as well as the outfield, the Chinese national team representative shapes up as an important asset for the team.

"This signing is a real coup for our ball club," Tuatara general manager Ryan Flynn said.

"Itchy, as he's known, is a terrific player and will help form a strong outfield for us. He's also a great guy and a real role model for players from China.

"We expect the large Chinese community in Auckland to be very excited about his arrival."


Guiyuan joins a host of other MLB prospects in the side, with outfielders Eric Jenkins (Texas Rangers) and Zach Clark (Milwaukee Brewers), infielders Nick Tanielu (Houston Astros) and Taylor Snyder (Colorado Rockies), and pitcher Kyle Glogoski (Philadelphia Phillies).

Guiyuan, who is currently in China, said he was looking forward to heading out to Auckland and testing himself in the ABL.

"I look forward to playing in the ABL, and want to say thank you to the Auckland Tuatara for providing me with this opportunity," Guiyuan said. "I believe that the chance to continue to play against high-level competition will be a great experience, and one that will benefit me in my professional growth."