Evans makes his mark right away
Rookie smacks doubles in first two Major League at-bats
DENVER -- Nick Evans didn't know what to think when his manager pulled him off the field in the middle of an inning at Double-A Binghamton on Friday night, but having made a costly mental error in left field earlier in the game, he was prepared for the worst.
"I was actually in the outfield in the ninth inning with one out," Evans said on Saturday morning, standing in front of his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field. "They pulled me off. I thought they were pulling me out for a defensive move, but then they broke the news to me, so it was pretty exciting."
The news was that Evans was set to leapfrog past Triple-A and join the Mets in Colorado on Saturday, following back-to-back trips to the disabled list on Thursday and Saturday by outfielders Moises Alou and Marlon Anderson.
"It was completely out of the blue," Evans said. "I hadn't really been following the injuries. It was a complete shock to me."
Some 16 hours later, Evans was in the big league lineup, lacing an RBI double to right on the first pitch he saw as part of a five-run first inning and patrolling left field for a Mets team whose lineup was shaken by necessity after a trio of injuries and a five-game losing streak.
He also hit a double in his second at-bat in the third inning on Saturday.
"We'll get the kid some play today, get his feet wet," manager Willie Randolph said before the game. "Throw him in there and see what he can do. I think it's better to do it that way than to have him sitting around for a day or two, thinking about it. Hopefully, he'll have a big day for him and his family. His mom and dad will be watching. He might catch one up in that Mile High air. It'd be nice."
The 22-year-old Phoenix native was drafted as first baseman in the fifth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, but he began playing outfield in Binghamton this year, playing 31 games at first, 16 in left, and two at third base, and the work to learn a new position has paid quick dividends.
"It's been getting more and more comfortable every time I've played out there," Evans said. "At first it wasn't comfortable, but I'm getting more and more accustomed to it."
According to Evans, you couldn't tell his comfort level was rising on Friday night, when he thought he was being pulled because of his questionable work in the field.
"I made a bonehead play earlier in the game," Evans explained. "There was a fly ball down the left-field line that I thought was foul. I didn't get it, and the guy got an inside-the-park home run. It was pretty ugly. I went after it, but then I didn't throw the ball in."
Suffice to say, it's his success at the plate that has the Mets imagining the impact Evans can have with the club during this rough patch and down the road. He was hitting .292 (50-for-171) with eight doubles, five triples, eight homers and 31 RBIs in Binghamton when he got the callup.
"He hit a bomb in Spring Training off the center-field wall," Randolph recalled on Saturday. "I like his approach -- nice inside-out kind of swing. Usually with young kids, you notice that right away, the way they approach the at-bats. I just saw two or three at-bats at the most and watched him take a little BP.
"He's having a nice little year. We need some help. Guys are getting banged up again. Hopefully, we can get a little feel for what he can help us do, not just now but maybe in the future. He's one of our young prospects. I like young kids, and I like to see what they do."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.