Evans Finally Lands A Spot In Angels' Outfield
Injuries Lead To Big League Break
ANAHEIM When you're 28 years old and your major league career consists of 18 at-bats, it's a good time to make an Opening Day roster.
The Angels needed an extra outfielder, he was ready and able, and still he had no idea if the team would pick up a veteran backup.
"This is a tough club to make," he said. "There was still a huge question mark, whether they would go with a player like me or go in a different direction. Fortunately, they had me hang around a little bit."
Evans' role could become substantial. The Angels start three over-30 outfielders—Bobby Abreu
(36 years old), Torii Hunter
(34) and Juan Rivera
(31), and the would-be fourth outfielder is Hideki Matsui
, 35, with creaky knees.
Evans would be next. He can play all three outfield positions and, as the first 20-20 man in franchise history at Triple-A Salt Lake, he can offer some power and speed off the bench. He hit .291/.341/.520 with 26 home runs, 90 RBIs and 28 stolen bases at Salt Lake last season. He entered this season with 119 home runs in 3,119 career minor league at-bats and a .273/.332/.464 average.
"He's ready for the challenge," manager Mike Scioscia
The Cardinals drafted Evans in the 47th round out of Middle Georgia JC in the 2001 draft. The Angels acquired him from the Cardinals in 2006, after they had designated righthander Jeff Weaver
for assignment. The Cardinals have no regrets; Weaver won the clinching game of the World Series.
And Evans might not be here for long, since Reggie Willits
could come off the disabled list and displace him. For now, however, he says he'd much rather get 100 at-bats with the Angels than 500 with a last-place team that might afford him the chance to establish himself as a major leaguer.
"I'm totally OK with that," Evans said. "I'm excited to fit into any role they would have me play. I'm up for any role that has me in this clubhouse."
• The Angels presented the Fred Haney Award for outstanding spring training rookie to righthanded reliever Michael Kohn
, who had a 2.89 ERA in nine Cactus League games. Kohn, 23, went 6-1, 1.64 with 103 strikeouts in 65-2/3 innings last season, split between Class A Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga.
• The Angels sent righthander Sean O'Sullivan
, catcher Ryan Budde
, infielder Freddy Sandoval
and outfielder Peter Bourjos
to Salt Lake.