Church irked by Manuel’s comments

Even though Ryan Church is now a member of the Braves, he’s still reminded of how frustrating it was to play for the Mets and manager Jerry Manuel.

When Church’s former teammate David Wright suffered a concussion after he was hit in the head with a fastball by Giants starter Matt Cain in a game last weekend, Manuel said Wright was a “different animal” than Church when it comes to missing time due to a concussion. (Church missed much of last season after suffering two concussions.)

According to a report by ESPN.com, Church was upset with Manuel’s “different animal” comment.

“It just felt like a low blow,” Church said. “I saw it. I wasn’t happy. If he had a problem with me or anything like that, you’d think he’d tell it to my face. I had plenty of opportunity to talk while I was wearing that uniform. It just was like, all right, now that I’m wearing another one, why would he come out and say that?”

When he met with reporters before Tuesday night’s series opener against the Braves, Manuel was told that Church called the comments a “cheap shot.”

But Manuel said he meant no disrespect. He said he was simply trying to explain that the players involved were different, just like the concussions.

“There’s no ill intent,” Manuel said. “I don’t mean to take a shot at him. If that’s how he felt, I apologize to him. I like Ryan Church.”

Manuel and Church had bad blood before this incident and I don’t blame Church for feeling like Manuel took a cheap shot. Manuel wasn’t sensitive to Church’s injuries last year (the entire Mets’ staff mismanaged Church’s two concussions by making him available to pinch hitting him two days after the first injury and then putting him on a freaking plane to Colorado with post-concussion symptoms shorty after that) and isn’t being sensitive now in his comments. Because Church is in Atlanta now, Manuel probably feels as though he can take swipes at his former player without facing any repercussions.

Granted, the Mets have suffered an unusual amount of injuries this season, which have nothing to do with Manuel. But that doesn’t mean he deserves a mulligan for what has transpired this season. He’s a lousy manager and I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t fire him in the offseason.

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Braves trade Francoeur to Mets for Church

The Braves and Mets swapped outfielders on Friday, as Atlanta sent struggling right fielder Jeff Francoeur to the Big Apple for the equally struggling Ryan Church.

The clubs make this trade essentially hoping that they can each find success turning the still-promising young outfielders around. Francoeur has struggled the past two years, but the Mets must feel as though he offers more offensive potential than Church, who, for whatever reason, has never been given a fair shot by manager Jerry Manuel.

The Mets could also obviously use the upgrade defensively, where trained circus monkeys could perform better than what New York puts on the field on a nightly basis. Francoeur might have his struggles at the dish, but he’s got a cannon for an arm and will certainly be a welcome sight in right field for the Mets’ pitching staff. He also offers more power potential than Church.

Church, meanwhile, should love the new scenery in Atlanta. He’ll give them a significant boost in terms of on base percentage and he seemingly has a better chance of turning his offensive misfortunes around than Francoeur does.

It’ll be interesting to see who got the better end of the deal at the end of the year.

Jerry Manuel: ‘I could have strangled Ryan Church’

Following a loss in which the young outfielder missed third base when scoring what could have eventually been the game-winning run, Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel said he could have strangled Ryan Chuch following New York’s loss to the Dodgers on Monday night. And apparently the rift between Manuel and Church started well before Monday night’s base running gaff.

It started in spring training when Manuel suggested Church, not the young Daniel Murphy, could end up in a platoon with Fernando Tatis, saying Murphy was a better hitter.

It continued when Manuel voiced his support for the Mets’ signing of Gary Sheffield just before the start of the regular season, a move that threatened to cut into Church’s playing time more than anyone else’s. And it did, even as Church got off to a scorching start at the plate.

When Manuel didn’t even bother walking out to ask the umpire what happened Monday, let alone argue on Church’s behalf, then called him out afterward, it only fueled the perception that already existed.

Manuel said he didn’t need an explanation because third-base coach Razor Shines told him Church didn’t step on the bag, and said he was only being honest in his post-game remarks.
When asked Tuesday if he was angry with Church, Manuel said, “Oh, you doggone right I was mad at him. I could have strangled him.” But he said it was not something that carried over into the next day.

It has to be tough being Manuel these days, knowing you have one of the most talented teams in the NL but they can’t even do the little things right. The media tends to overreact when a manager gets upset with a player, but what manager wouldn’t be upset with a player when they can’t touch third base when they’re heading home? It’s little league-type stuff and Manuel has to be beyond tired of it.

Based on his comments in the article, it seems like Church is handling everything in stride though. He knows he’s a professional and being a young hitter he is going to be ridden more by the manager. We’ll see how he (and the rest of the Mets for that matter) respond.

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