Church not upset with Mets
"There's no animosity, no nothing, no bad feelings or hard feelings," Church said Saturday, a day after he was traded from the Mets to Atlanta for Jeff Francoeur.
"I'm in debt to those guys, especially [general manager] Omar Minaya. "He was the one that traded for me back in the Montreal days, he was the one that gave me the shot and the opportunity. If someone gives you a chance to play at the major league level you're always going to be grateful."
Church was in right field and batting sixth in Atlanta's game against Colorado on Saturday. He grounded out to second in his first at-bat.
Church, 30, was hitting .280 with two home runs and 22 RBIs for the Mets. He said he got along well with manager Jerry Manuel
"In New York, a lot of the media always thought there was something between me and Jerry, and there never was," he said. "If there was ever a problem he'd come to me, if I had a problem I'd go to him. Not once did we have a fallout. Like I told Jerry yesterday, I'll go to war with him any day of the week. You never know in baseball, you might run into him again."
Church had a solid 2007 with the Washington Nationals, hitting .272 with 15 homers and 70 RBIs in 144 games. The Mets traded for him in the 2007 offseason, and in his first 42 games of the 2008 season, he hit .311 with nine homers and a .534 slugging percentage.
His season took a turn for the worse when he sustained a concussion while sliding into Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar's head during a May 20 game. In the 115 games Church has played since then, he has hit .265 with five homers and a .362 slugging percentage.
He said he is fully recovered from the concussion and is happy to be with the Braves.
"I joked with some of the guys yesterday, 'At least I'm in third place.' It is weird when you get traded in the division, and it just so happens next week, a four-game series, we're back at it," he said. "That's one thing I told Omar and Jerry, 'Now I get to beat up on you next week.'
"It's going to work out for both of us," Church said of Francoeur. "He's going to love it there. It's the biggest stage. At times it'll be tough, but for him he's a tough player, hard player, plays hard. All you have to do in New York is play hard and they'll love you."
Church also is happy to be playing with his good friend, Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.
"I grew up in the '90s as a big Braves fan. I'll never tell him, but he was my favorite player," he said. "It's cool now to be playing with him."
The Braves will finish their four-game series in Colorado on Sunday with a change in their rotation. Right-hander Javier Vazquez, the scheduled starter, was scratched and Kris Medlen will start in his place.
Vazquez flew back to Atlanta on Wednesday to have an MRI done on his strained lower abdominal muscle. He will receiver treatment through the All-Star break and his status will be determined after that.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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