For Varland brothers, now both in the majors at same time, a ‘dream come true’
Louie Varland and brother Gus are currently pitching for the Twins and Brewers, respectively
NEW YORK — Louie Varland tried to hint to some of those above him within the Minnesota Twins’ organization this offseason that his older brother, Gus, was eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft.
“He’s available,” he mentioned.
But despite the younger Varland brother’s gentle suggestion, the Twins passed on Gus Varland in December. Five picks later, the Milwaukee Brewers snapped him up, the geographic next-best situation for the family.
Louie and Gus Varland both went to North St. Paul High School and it was when they were there that Louie said they first started talking about one day being major-league pitchers at the same time.
“Just like high school kids just talking,” Louie said.
After playing college ball at Concordia-St. Paul University, both were drafted. Older brother Gus was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round of the 2018 draft, and wound up with the Dodgers via trade before being nabbed in the Rule 5 draft by Milwaukee. Younger brother Louie went to the Twins in the 15th round a year later.
Fast forward to 2023 and for the time being, the two brothers are both in the major leagues at the same time for the first time ever. Gus, 26, broke camp with the Brewers as a reliever and made his major-league debut March 30. Louie, 25, who debuted last September, was called up Friday, starting for the Twins at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s a dream come true,” Louie Varland said. “… As a family, it’s the best thing ever.”
The two brothers speak every day, and Louie said receiving a call from Gus this spring to tell him that he was starting the season in the majors was “emotional” and “incredible.”
Louie was hopeful he could make it to Chicago to watch his brother’s debut, but that didn’t work out as he envisioned. Not expecting Gus to pitch on Opening Day, he had plans to be there in time for the second game of the season. Though Gus did wind up pitching on Opening Day, Louie was still hoping to get to Chicago for the end of the series, but a flight cancellation foiled those plans.
With conflicting schedules, he still has yet to see Gus, who came into Saturday with a 3.00 earned-run average in five games, pitch as a big leaguer. He hopes to not only see him pitch for the Brewers in person soon but to compete against him someday.
And further into the future, he has something even better in mind: becoming teammates at the major-league level.
“Being optimistic just down the road hopefully pitching on the same team together, that would be awesome,” Louie Varland said. “The Varland 1-2 punch: I start, he comes in and closes a game or relieves, that’d be unreal.”
MLB teams wore No. 42 on Saturday for the commemoration of Jackie Robinson Day. A day earlier, Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon and third-base coach Tommy Watkins paid a visit to the Jackie Robinson Museum in Manhattan. … Joey Gallo (intercostal strain) is likely to be activated this week when the Twins go to Boston.
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