Church dealt for Francoeur

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

The rare deal between N.L. 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.

Discussions began only this week, and 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 was stunned by the deal.

“Shocker. Came out of nowhere,” he said outside the Mets clubhouse.

Church is hitting .280 with two home runs and 22 RBIs. Francoeur is hitting .250 with five homers and 35 RBIs.

Halladay may move

It pays to be an All-Star.

The initial 68 picks for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis will receive $2.3 million in bonuses, with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay leading the way at $125,000.

That money might come in handy for moving expenses. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said this week he’s willing to listen to offers for the 2003 A.L. Cy Young Award winner. Halladay, a six-time All-Star, has the right to block trades put together without his approval.

Clearing the bases

Orioles manager Dave Trembley received a two-game suspension and was fined following his ejection in the first inning of Baltimore’s game against the Seattle Mariners earlier this week. Bob Watson, Major League Baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline, said Trembley violated a rule that states an ejected manager must take no further part in a game. Trembley told reporters after the game that when Luke Scott came into the clubhouse, Trembley told him to “get me a couple” runs. … The Los Angeles Angels placed outfielders Torii Hunter (adductor strain) and Vladimir Guerrero (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list. … Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, the 2008 N.L. rookie of the year, is going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.


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