D-backs call up St. Mary's product Nick Evans
MAY 28, 2014 10:21p ET
A Valley native and baseball junkie, Evans was in the house for the first game in D-backs' history in 1998, and he made it to one of their 2001 World Series victories.
Now his Chase Field memories include playing there.
"To say it is a dream come true would be kind of an understatement for me," Evans said in the D-backs' clubhouse about four hours before Wednesday's series finale against San Diego.
"I don't think there is any kid who grew up in Arizona as a Diamondbacks fan that it wasn't their dream to play for this team."
Evans, 28, attended St. Mary's High, was a fifth-round draft choice of the New York Mets in 2004 and spent parts of four seasons with the Mets in 2008-11. It seemed an orderly procession before a hiccup left Evans wondering if he would ever be back in the major leagues, let alone play for his hometown team.
Evans suffered a serious wrist injury that cost him most of the 2012 season while in the Pittsburgh system. He broke three bones in his left wrist when his glove caught the ground as he dove to catch a bunt in late April and he played in only two rehab games the rest of the season.
Evans was released by the Dodgers with about a week left in spring training in 2013 before signing a minor league deal with the D-backs through a connection with former Mets teammate Andy Green, who was managing the D-backs' Double-A affiliate in Mobile, Ala.
“"I don't think there is any kid who grew up in Arizona as a Diamondbacks fan that it wasn't their dream to play for this team."”
"Absolutely," Evans said when asked if he had concerns about his career at the tender age of 26. "It was tough on me. When you miss a whole year, and then I got released in spring training last year, you start to think. ... You don't know what is going to happen. To get back here really is special for me.
"It was a long recovery, but it's definitely been worth it. When you are young, you take it for granted being there. And then when it is not there any more, you start to question whether you are going to get back. Stuff happens quick in this game. You have to learn that. You learn never to get caught off guard with anything. Your suitcase is kind of always packed. To finally do it after a few years, it is really satisfying."
Evans more than earned his promotion from Triple-A Reno. He had a .335/.393/.641 slash line with the Aces, including 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 44 games. He was tied for first in the Pacific Coast League in RBI, was third in OPS and slugging percentage, and tied for third in total bases. He was named the PCL player of the week two weeks ago, when he had seven extra-base hits and 15 RBI as the Aces went 5-2.
"First of all, I thought the team we had was a lot of fun to be around," Evans said. "We had such a good team. When everybody in the lineup is doing well, it makes it a lot easier to go with the flow of the team and kind of just fit right in. The team made it a lot easier. I started swinging the bat well and try to keep it the same every day and just try to keep consistent with it."
Evans played 57 games in the outfield and 53 at first base in his four seasons with the Mets, and split time almost evenly between first base, third base and left field with Reno. He feels comfortable at all three he said. He most likely will be used, at least in the early days, as a right-handed bat off the bench, manager Kirk Gibson said, to complement the left-handed hitting Eric Chavez.
"He could pinch-hit. I could double switch. I could put him over there at third," Gibson said. "He has some experience in the big leagues. He's a little older. Hopefully he can handle it for now and be able to contribute."
Evans is embracing it all.
"I'm ready to do whatever," he said.