Q&A: Hagerstown's Nick Evans

Nick Evans has fit right in as the cleanup hitter for the Hagerstown Suns, accomplishing his goal of reaching a long-season league in 2006. Evans recently discussed Hagerstown's solid start, the differences between Hagerstown and Brooklyn, and Mets phenom Fernando Martinez: (Premium Content)

I know last season you were hoping to open up in a long-season league. Now that it's happened this year, what have the first few weeks been like?

It's been fun so far. It's been a good experience getting into the long-season league, like you said, and I think the team is playing pretty well. We've got a pretty good team and I think it's going to be a pretty fun team.

You guys are off to a pretty good start, and it seems like you have an interesting team this year. Can you tell me a little bit about how you've looked in the early going?

For the most part, we are a pretty young team, and we're never giving up. We've been making a lot of comebacks in late innings, and we're a team that's never out of it until the game is over. It's fun, because we're always in it until the end.

What's the comparison like, playing pro games in April here with Hagerstown, or being down in Florida playing in the Extended Spring program?

It's so much better being here and playing actual, real games than just playing the Extended Spring games. It's great to get things going this year than to wait a few extra months to strap it up for real. It's just a good feeling, knowing you're only going to be in Spring Training for about a month and then you get to start playing. It's a lot of fun.

I know you said last year, when you went to Brooklyn, you didn't anticipate it being the kind of atmosphere that it was. How does that compare to Hagerstown?

The Brooklyn atmosphere is definitely way different than Hagerstown. Hagerstown is kind of a small town, laid-back, and Brooklyn is more of an upbeat, big city, obviously. It's one extreme to the other, obviously, but they're both fun to play at.

How does that change things? Does the swing of home cities affect your performance at all?

I think if you can play in Brooklyn, you can play anywhere. After being in Brooklyn, going anywhere else has less pressure, it's relaxed. I think it just makes it easier after playing there.

For you personally, how do you feel about the way you're hitting at Hagerstown?

I think the main thing for me is to be more consistent. I get too streaky sometimes, and that's the main thing I need to work on.

You hit a grand slam in the ninth inning (on April 25, against Lake County) to win a game recently. Had you ever hit a grand slam before?

No, not that I can remember. I may have hit one before, but I can't remember. It was a great feeling, especially because it tied the game. That was a big one.

You went through a position switch last year, moving to first base. Does it feel a little more natural this season?

It's definitely a bit more comfortable this year than it was last year. I was comfortable last year, but the more you play it, the more comfortable you're going to be. [I'm better at] reading balls off the bat, making throws over there; you just get more comfortable the more reps you take and the more throws you make.

What about your teammates? Who has really impressed you on this club?

Well, Fernando [Martinez] has definitely impressed everybody here. I figured he'd do well, but he's tearing it up this year. He's obviously going to be the most impressive one of the group just because of how young he is. And this guy right here (Evans points to Drew Butera) is pretty impressive behind the plate. Nobody steals on him.

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