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Ol' 7-for-75 gets a second chance

Nick Evans was sent back to the Bisons today by the Mets to allow Angel Pagan to come off the disabled list. Oh boy.

Some Mets fans out there have pointed out to me that I've been a little tough on Evans. OK, so maybe consistently referring to a 23-year-old as "ol' 7-for-75" might be a little harsh. But seriously now, the guy has success in the big leagues last year and just completely collapses when the Mets sign Gary Sheffield the last week of spring training?

And newsflash to all the Evans watchers: He was going to get sent down on the fifth day of the Mets' season anyway as soon as they need to use Livan Hernandez in the rotation. Evans became the poster boy for the Bisons' 2-17 start with the worst numbers I've ever seen for a player other than maybe Russell Branyan, circa 1999.

His 7 for 75 computed to an .093 batting average and he had three singles, a double and three homers. He had a slugging percentage of .227, an onbase of .218 and an OPS of .445. He was 1 for 22 with 10 strikeouts with runners in scoring position. Keep in mind this is a guy who spent 45 at-bats in the cleanup spot but it actually got worse elsewhere as Evans was just 2 for 30 with no home runs or RBIs when he was out of the No. 4 hole.

Evans went to extended spring in Florida, got his head together with a sport psychologist who told him not to think so much ("Don't think, Meat" in the immortal words of Nuke LaLoosh, reminding him what Crash Davis told him). Then he went and hit .276-3-9 in 25 games at Double-A Binghamton, including .381 against left-handers and .323 overall in June. Then it was back to New York (.256-1-6 in 14 games).

No disgrace in either place. So now Evans is back with the Bisons. And he better produce. No excuses. He can get a mulligan for those first 75 at-bats if he plays like the big prospect he's supposed to be. Evans is the biggest reason this team tanked early in the season. Hopefully, he makes up for it a little the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Evans' assignment to Buffalo was put off for a day because the Mets traded Ryan Church to Atlanta for Jeff Francoeur just before Friday night's game. I'm betting Evans joins the Herd Saturday in Syracuse against Scranton once Francouer reports to New York

---Mike Harrington

(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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