NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets acquired infielder Juan Uribe, infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves on Friday night for minor league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen.
The Mets announced the trade after their 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta’s 4-2 loss at St. Louis.
In corresponding roster moves, the Mets designated outfielder John Mayberry Jr. for assignment and optioned infielder Danny Muno to Triple-A Las Vegas. Third baseman David Wright, sidelined with a spinal condition, was also transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
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Before the game, the Mets promoted top prospect, outfielder Michael Conforto, from Double-A Binghamton, hoping to give their light-hitting lineup a boost. The Mets are last in the majors in batting average and second-to-last in runs scored.
The struggles reached their lowest point on June 9, when the team was no-hit by San Francisco Giants rookie Chris Heston. Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw nearly matched the feat in the series opener, throwing six perfect innings, shutting the Mets out for the 11th time this season.
The pair is also expected to provide defensive flexibility for manager Terry Collins.
Uribe, acquired by the Braves on May 27 as part of a five-player deal with the Dodgers, is batting .272 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs while primarily playing third base.
”I feel very good because I got traded to another team that is a contender,” Uribe said through an interpreter. ”I would have felt bad if I got released or sent home, so I know that I’m going to go to a good team and have the chance to be in the playoffs.”
He was a key contributor to a pair of World Series-winning teams, helping the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and San Francisco in 2010. The Mets have struggled to replace Wright’s production in their lineup, receiving only three home runs from the third base position since Wright went down in April.
”Juan was really good for us,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ”He’s a guy that played a great third base.”
In St. Louis, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he knew the trade was coming but didn’t get confirmation until about 70 minutes before the first pitch. That forced him to quickly scratch Uribe from the lineup and move Chris Johnson from first to third with Joey Terdoslavich filling in at first base.
”You’re getting ready to lose two guys that are really pretty good guys on our club,” Gonzalez said. ”Uribe’s only been here about two months, but he fit in right away with these guys and you’re going to miss that and Kelly’s professionalism.”
Added Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner: ”One of the best teammates I’ve ever had and a good baseball player. I already told a couple of guys, `You’re going to love (him),’ and he’s going to be great for the clubhouse over there.”
Johnson is batting .275 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs while playing all over the diamond, logging innings at five different positions. The versatile Johnson will be returning to the New York area spending part of last season with the Yankees. Johnson will become the 126th player to play for both New York teams.
He has been surging in July with a .311 average, three home runs, and team-high 12 RBIs.
”You find a good routine and when it’s working it’s hard to think about getting out of that,” said Johnson, who was surprised to be traded to a division rival. ”Now the toughest thing will be finding that routine there.”
Mayberry, signed in the offseason, mostly struggled as a right-handed bat off the bench. The 31-year-old Mayberry is hitting .164 with three homers and nine RBIs in 59 games this season.
Muno has hit .148, going 4 for 27 in limited appearances with the Mets this year.
Gant, 22, pitched for the Mets at Class A and Double-A, while Whalen, 21, made 14 starts for Class A St. Lucie.
AP freelance writers Steve Overbey and Luke Thompson in St. Louis contributed to this report.