Sunday, July 12, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Jeff Francoeur is trying to recapture a little of that old Parkview Panthers magic, even though he's a long way from Georgia now.
Francoeur began his new baseball life in the Big Apple wearing the old No. 12 from his high school glory days and it worked in his first at-bat with the New York Mets.
Coming up with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning Saturday night at Citi Field, Francoeur dropped a two-RBI single into right field off Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto to make a good first impression with Mets fans.
"I loved my time in Atlanta, it's my home," Francoeur told New York reporters before the game. "But it was probably good to get a change. This is a new opportunity for me and I want to run with it."
With the Mets depleted by injuries, the right fielder was put in the fifth spot in the lineup by manager Jerry Manuel and came through his first time up to stake the Mets and ace Johan Santana to a lead against the Reds.
Francoeur switched from the No. 7 he wore with the Braves to get a fresh start after not living up to lofty expectations in Atlanta last year and this season.
"I think he's looking at proving he can play and wants to play on this stage," Manuel told reporters. "Any team benefits from his mentality of energy and competing."
Francoeur was traded on Friday for Ryan Church, who also made his debut with his new team on Saturday night. Church played right field and hit sixth in the order as the Braves played the Rockies in Colorado.
Francoeur was 2-for-4 in his first game for the Mets, also adding a single in the seventh inning. He did strike out once in the 4-0 victory as Santana (10-7) and two relievers combined on a six-hit shutout.
It won't be long before Francoeur and Church face off against each other and their old teams. The Mets will visit Atlanta right after the All-Star Game break, playing four times at Turner Field beginning Thursday.