Inside The AFL: Nov. 3

Peoria Javelinas Manager Mike Goff has perhaps the best quote of the Arizona Fall League when he's asked about Seattle Mariners prospect Brett Evert.<p> "He's the righty over there who acts like a lefty."

It takes about 30 seconds to figure out that Goff's statement is accurate. Tall, lanky, with shaggy blonde hair and a quick smile, Evert is flat out hilarious.

First question: What are you working on in the AFL?

"Man, I'm just tryin' to get somebody out."

It's that simple. Evert has struggled a bit in the AFL, but mechanics and pitch selection, location, these things are not the focus of Evert's mind.

More specifically, he says, "Well, I either don't want them to hit the ball, or if they hit it, I'd like them to hit it to somebody on my team."

He laughs, knowing he's being difficult, and he appreciates it when the reporter laughs with him. Evert came to the Mariners organization after six seasons in the Braves' system. A hotbed for young pitching, leaving the Braves might be seen as a demotion. Evert doesn't look at it that way.

"The Braves have a really good organization, but part of the reason is that there are a lot of great pitchers there, so I think maybe I've got a better opportunity to move up with the Mariners."

There are other reasons for Evert's excitement, though.

"I'm really pretty close to home now. My family is in Salem, Ore., so they have a lot more opportunities to see me, and that's pretty cool."

But not without its downside, right?

"Yeah, sometimes it gets a little lame when I've got to get about 30 tickets at a time for a game, but whatever, I'll deal with it."

That roll-with-the-punches attitude should suit Evert just fine in Seattle, but might not have when he was with the Braves.

"I can't say anything bad about the Braves, but they are really more into discipline than they are into letting you pitch. I had a lot of friends in that organization, and I hated to leave them, but there's some..." he pauses, obviously wondering if he should finish.

He literally shrugs and then finishes his thought, adding, "Sometimes I just felt like there was over-coaching going on. Everybody throws a little different; everybody has a little different mentality and I felt like sometimes that wasn't allowed when I was with the Braves."

What works in one place sometimes doesn't work in another. When Evert was first picked up by the M's, he was added to their 40-man roster, but ended up being replaced to get catcher Rene Rivera a spot.

He knows that he'll have an opportunity to make the big league club, either as a back end of the rotation starter, or in middle relief, and he's ready for that challenge.

If he does make the club, he'll become a reporter's dream: young, quotable, and with a big sweeping curve, a guy who can "just get some outs."


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