Pirates sign Evans to Minors deal

Pirates sign Evans to Minors deal

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates signed outfielder/first baseman Nick Evans to a Minor League deal Wednesday that includes an invitation to Spring Training. Regardless of what the Pirates do this offseason to address their situation at first base, Evans is expected to, at the least, enter camp competing for a spot on the Pirates' bench.

Drafted by the Mets in the fifth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Evans was a part of the organization until this month. He was taken off New York's 40-man roster on Nov. 11, and later rejected an outright assignment to the Minors in order to enter the free-agent market.

Evans, 25, played in New York for parts of the last four seasons, though he hardly garnered regular playing time. After batting .306 in 20 games with the Mets in 2010, Evans hit .256 with 10 doubles, four homers and 25 RBIs in 59 Major League games this past season.

He spent the rest of 2011 in Triple-A, batting .313 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 64 games.

Evans played predominately at first while coming up through the Minors, though he actually has made the majority of his big league appearances in the outfield. Evans also has limited playing experience at third.

While the Pirates are still actively seeking an established first baseman who could take over the position in Pittsburgh in 2012, Evans gives the Pirates an option should they opt to instead utilize Garrett Jones in a platoon role.

Jones has had success against right-handed pitchers throughout his career, but he has not shown the Pirates that he can consistently hit left-handers. Evans, on the other hand, has done well vs. lefties, and he could take those at-bats if the Pirates do not feel comfortable giving them to Jones.

The right-handed-hitting Evans has a career .295 batting average against southpaws in his limited big league time. He hit .338 against left-handers in the Minors last year.

Evans is the fifth non-roster player whom the Pirates have invited to Spring Training. Right-hander Tim Wood, right-hander Shairon Martis, catcher Jake Fox and outfielder Brandon Boggs round out the rest of the group.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.