Baseball

Francoeur, Church swap teams

The free-falling New York Mets finally made a move, trading Ryan Church to the Atlanta Braves for Jeff Francoeur and cash on Friday in a swap of outfielders who had fallen out of favor with their teams.

The rare deal between National League East rivals came with both teams below .500. The Mets are desperate for a spark with stars Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado on the disabled list and also are looking toward 2010, preferring Francoeur’s right-handed bat and strong throwing arm in right at spacious Citi Field.

“What’s just weird is you imagine to be traded, but you never imagine to be traded to maybe your biggest rival,” Francoeur said in Denver, before the Braves played the Rockies.

Church was told when he came in from batting practice Friday, just before he was to get taped up. The Mets receive $270,218 as part of the trade to equalize salaries.

Church is hitting .280 with two home runs and 22 RBI. Francoeur, an Atlanta native, is hitting .250 with five homers and 35 RBI.

Angels send pair to DL

The Los Angeles Angels placed outfielders Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero on the 15-day disabled list before the start of a three-game series with the New York Yankees.

Hunter, who was recently selected to his third All-Star Game, has an adductor strain on his right side. Guerrero strained a muscle behind his left knee and sustained a lower-hamstring strain July 7.

Short hops

Philadelphia outfielder Jayson Werth, who has 20 home runs and 56 RBI, was picked for the NL All-Star team as a replacement for injured Mets center fielder Beltran. … Joe Mauer accepted an invitation to participate in the All-Star home run derby. … The Oakland Athletics optioned left-hander Dana Eveland to Triple-A Sacramento. Designated for assignment on Tuesday, Eveland is 1-3 with an 8.00 ERA in seven games, including six starts. … The Houston Astros claimed backup catcher Chris Coste off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies. Coste, 36, hit .245 with two home runs and eight RBI in 45 games for the Phillies this season. … Searchers in Camilla, Texas, have recovered the body of former Chicago Cubs reliever Jessie Hollins, who was reported missing on a southeast Texas lake. Hollins, 39, apparently drowned while fishing below Lake Livingston Dam on Thursday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife. … Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, the 2008 NL rookie of the year, is going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, manager Lou Piniella said.

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