BRADENTON — After spending the past eight seasons with the New York Mets, infielder Nick Evans decided to switch organizations this year. The 26-year-old infielder has spent parts of the last four seasons in the Majors with New York, posting a .256 career average over 159 big league games.
This offseason, however, Evans was looking for a new opportunity, and after talking to the Pirates, he decided that Pittsburgh was a good fit heading into 2012.
“It was a tough decision to leave the Mets because I have good relationships with a lot of the people there,” Evans said prior to workouts at Pirate City. “I liked the people that I talked to in this organization and feel like I had a good opportunity here.”
Since arriving to Spring Training in Bradenton, Evans has been splitting time at both first and third base during workouts. Evans can also play left field as well, making his versatility appealing to the Pirates staff. Evans, along with prospect Matt Hague and Jake Fox, will be competing for an opportunity to break camp as a corner infield utility position.
“I think the more positions you play, the better the opportunity you have to get in the lineup” Evans said. “And that’s really what the goal is, get in the lineup. The more options you have, the better for you.”
Evans signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh in late November . Over 59 games with the Mets during the 2011 season, Evans hit .256 with four home runs and 25 RBI. While with Triple-A Buffalo, Evans hit .313 with 13 doubles, eight homers and 32 RBI over 64 games.
“Nick Evans is a guy that’s done some things that stick out and grab your attention,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “Offensively, we like what we see. We like the quality at-bats he’s been able to put up at even at the Major League level, as well as the Minor League level.”
Over the offseason, Evans said he worked on getting in shape and getting stronger so that his body can handle a long 162 game season. Looking to make the team out of Spring Training, Evans said his goal is to have a solid spring with Pittsburgh.
“Your goals are just to come out everyday and just try have a solid spring,” Evans said. “You cant control your results, you just control kind of the process. Just come everyday and be ready to go.”