Braves designate Church for assignment
Transaction helps make room for Soriano on 40-man roster
INDIANAPOLIS -- All indications were that the Braves were going to non-tender Ryan Church before this weekend's deadline. But to make room for Rafael Soriano on their 40-man roster, they instead designated Church for assignment on Tuesday.
Church, whose legacy in Atlanta will be cemented in the fact that he was the player the Braves acquired from the Mets in exchange for Jeff Francoeur in July, has been placed on waivers. If the 31-year-old outfielder clears waivers, the Braves will have 10 days to trade or release him.
Church hit .260 with two homers and a .749 OPS in the 44 games he played during his injury-tarnished stint in Atlanta this year. The fact that he wasn't receiving any previous attention on the trade market provides reason to believe he could be released.
Injuries have damaged the promise Church showed when he hit a career-high 15 homers for the Nationals in 2007 and then batted .315 with nine homers in the first 43 games he played for the Mets in 2008.
Church's recent injury woes began on May 20, 2008, when he slid into Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar's knee while playing for the Mets and suffered a concussion. His limited availability while playing for the Braves came courtesy of a troublesome back.
When Soriano provided some surprise by accepting his arbitration offer on Monday night, the Braves were forced to place him on their 40-man roster. They are now attempting to trade the right-handed reliever. But they have made it known to other clubs that they aren't simply going to give him away without at least getting some attractive prospects in return.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.