Extended Spring Training Q&A with Nick Evans

InsidePitchMagazine.com caught up with Nick Evans down in Extended Spring Training for a Q&A session to talk about how things are working for him down in Florida, where he thinks he might go once the short-season leagues begin, what he's specifically working on in Extended, and to get a taste of what Extended Spring Training is like.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Nick, tell us about Extended Spring Training. How has it gone for you down there?

Nick Evans: It is really not that bad at all. I heard all these horror stories about Extended Spring Training and how it is the absolute worst thing you could do. You know, how it was really hot down here and how we'd have to get up really early to work out and all. I think it is just what you make of it and how much you put into it. Obviously I'd rather have been in a long season league, in Hagerstown or something like that. But my time down here has been very productive and I think I've gotten a lot better. (laughing) However, I'm looking forward to getting the real season started and get out of here for sure.

Inside Pitch: How are you doing down there, numbers-wise? Who has impressed you on your team?

Evans: I think I'm right around .300 or there about. I have 5 home runs and something like 8 or 9 doubles. We have a pretty good team here and a pretty good group of guys. Lots of the guys on our team either played in Brooklyn last year or could have played in a long-season league this year. Matt Fisher is a guy that has been hitting the ball real well. Jonathan Malo is a real good shortstop that keeps getting better everyday. Caleb Stewart is a solid outfielder that played well for us and just got promoted up to St. Lucie the other day. Like I said, we have a lot of talented guys down here.

Inside Pitch: You made the move to first base in Spring Training. Is that where you've been playing the majority of the time down in Extended? How are you progressing at first since moving over from third base?

Evans: Yeah I've pretty much been playing first base all the time. I'm improving a lot there and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I'm sure I'll be playing there [first base] once the season starts. While I've been in Extended Spring Training to work on my defense at first, I'm also here to get more at-bats. I'm learning to take some more pitches and not to swing at the pitches outside the strike zone. It has been great. I'm learning to swing at better pitches and not get myself out.

Inside Pitch: Do you have any idea where you'll be playing once the short-season leagues open up?

Evans: I'm really hoping it is Brooklyn, but there is two other first basemen down here too with Jim Burt and Jabe Bergeron. I have no idea where I'm going to go though. In fact, all three of us are clueless where we'll be. I'm just concentrating on improving my game down here and will just be waiting to hear where I'm going. But like I said, I'm hopeful that it will be Brooklyn. I figured I'll get there at some point this summer. I really don't care where I play, as long as I'm playing everyday.

Inside Pitch: When we spoke in the offseason you mentioned that you and Mike Carp were pretty similar players and now that you've seen Mike have some success in Hagerstown, does it make you wonder what you would have done if you had started in a place like Hagerstown? Did you think you would break Spring Training in Hagerstown?

Evans: Nah, I don't think so. Mike had a killer Spring Training and he won the starting job, hands down! He came into Spring Training and hit something like six home runs. He definitely deserved the spot. I mean, I wish I was playing there too, but I figured I'd be in Extended anyway. I needed to get the extra at-bats. I figured either way I was going to be here and I truly believe the Mets made the right decision. Being down here to work on my game has been good for me.

Inside Pitch: Do you follow those guys in Hagerstown to see how they are doing? Do you ever talk to anybody there?

Evans: I check in every now and then. To be honest, I get most of my information from listening to the guys down here in the locker room. I've talked with Mike Carp and Ryan Coultas a couple of times, but it hasn't been all that much. Occasionally I'll get on the Internet and see how those guys are doing. They seem to be playing pretty well up there from what I've heard.

Inside Pitch: So what's a normal day like in Extended Spring Training? What time do you guys start and who have you been playing? When does Extended Spring Training end for you?

Evans: The days pretty much begin at 7:30 in the morning. That's when we'll get to the ballpark and get our early work in around 8:00 am. By 9 o'clock, we're on the field to get ready for our games at noon. We've been playing the Nationals, the Cardinals, the Dodgers...teams like that, that are around us. Honestly, it is pretty much just like the Gulf Coast League and Instructs. (laughing) It is pretty much all I know down here. We've been pretty much winning most of our games. We have a lot of older guys on the team and I'm one of the youngest, so that's good. This is the last week of games and we take a break for a couple of days and then go to the short-season leagues around the 15th or so. (laughing) They really don't tell us too much down here.

Inside Pitch: Final question. You mentioned that you were working on your swing as well as your defense at first base. What specifically are you working on improving?

Evans: I guess it is a combination of patience at the plate and pitch recognition. There has been some noticeable improvement on my pitch recognition down here in Extended. I'm working on cutting my swing down and learning to take more pitches so I can get the pitches that I want to hit. That's the big thing I'm working on.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Nick, tell us about Extended Spring Training. How has it gone for you down there?
\r\n
\r\nNick Evans: It is really not that bad at all. I heard all these horror stories about Extended Spring Training and how it is the absolute worst thing you could do. You know, how it was really hot down here and how we'd have to get up really early to work out and all. I think it is just what you make of it and how much you put into it. Obviously I'd rather have been in a long season league, in Hagerstown or something like that. But my time down here has been very productive and I think I've gotten a lot better. (laughing) However, I'm looking forward to getting the real season started and get out of here for sure.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How are you doing down there, numbers-wise? Who has impressed you on your team?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I think I'm right around .300 or there about. I have 5 home runs and something like 8 or 9 doubles. We have a pretty good team here and a pretty good group of guys. Lots of the guys on our team either played in Brooklyn last year or could have played in a long-season league this year. Matt Fisher is a guy that has been hitting the ball real well. Jonathan Malo is a real good shortstop that keeps getting better everyday. Caleb Stewart is a solid outfielder that played well for us and just got promoted up to St. Lucie the other day. Like I said, we have a lot of talented guys down here.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You made the move to first base in Spring Training. Is that where you've been playing the majority of the time down in Extended? How are you progressing at first since moving over from third base?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Yeah I've pretty much been playing first base all the time. I'm improving a lot there and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I'm sure I'll be playing there [first base] once the season starts. While I've been in Extended Spring Training to work on my defense at first, I'm also here to get more at-bats. I'm learning to take some more pitches and not to swing at the pitches outside the strike zone. It has been great. I'm learning to swing at better pitches and not get myself out.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you have any idea where you'll be playing once the short-season leagues open up?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I'm really hoping it is Brooklyn, but there is two other first basemen down here too with Jim Burt and Jabe Bergeron. I have no idea where I'm going to go though. In fact, all three of us are clueless where we'll be. I'm just concentrating on improving my game down here and will just be waiting to hear where I'm going. But like I said, I'm hopeful that it will be Brooklyn. I figured I'll get there at some point this summer. I really don't care where I play, as long as I'm playing everyday.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: When we spoke in the offseason you mentioned that you and Mike Carp were pretty similar players and now that you've seen Mike have some success in Hagerstown, does it make you wonder what you would have done if you had started in a place like Hagerstown? Did you think you would break Spring Training in Hagerstown?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Nah, I don't think so. Mike had a killer Spring Training and he won the starting job, hands down! He came into Spring Training and hit something like six home runs. He definitely deserved the spot. I mean, I wish I was playing there too, but I figured I'd be in Extended anyway. I needed to get the extra at-bats. I figured either way I was going to be here and I truly believe the Mets made the right decision. Being down here to work on my game has been good for me.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you follow those guys in Hagerstown to see how they are doing? Do you ever talk to anybody there?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I check in every now and then. To be honest, I get most of my information from listening to the guys down here in the locker room. I've talked with Mike Carp and Ryan Coultas a couple of times, but it hasn't been all that much. Occasionally I'll get on the Internet and see how those guys are doing. They seem to be playing pretty well up there from what I've heard.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: So what's a normal day like in Extended Spring Training? What time do you guys start and who have you been playing? When does Extended Spring Training end for you?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: The days pretty much begin at 7:30 in the morning. That's when we'll get to the ballpark and get our early work in around 8:00 am. By 9 o'clock, we're on the field to get ready for our games at noon. We've been playing the Nationals, the Cardinals, the Dodgers...teams like that, that are around us. Honestly, it is pretty much just like the Gulf Coast League and Instructs. (laughing) It is pretty much all I know down here. We've been pretty much winning most of our games. We have a lot of older guys on the team and I'm one of the youngest, so that's good. This is the last week of games and we take a break for a couple of days and then go to the short-season leagues around the 15th or so. (laughing) They really don't tell us too much down here.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Final question. You mentioned that you were working on your swing as well as your defense at first base. What specifically are you working on improving?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I guess it is a combination of patience at the plate and pitch recognition. There has been some noticeable improvement on my pitch recognition down here in Extended. I'm working on cutting my swing down and learning to take more pitches so I can get the pitches that I want to hit. That's the big thing I'm working on.
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