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Ryan Church

Church with the Nationals in 2007.
Pittsburgh Pirates — No. 18
Right fielder
Born: October 14, 1978 (1978-10-14) (age 31)
Santa Barbara, California
Bats: Left Throws: Left 
MLB debut
August 21, 2004 for the Montreal Expos
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Batting average     .272
Home runs     51
Runs batted in     242
Teams

Ryan Matthew Church (born October 14, 1978, in Santa Barbara, California) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Contents

Career

Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 14th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft, Church signed June 7, 2000, after graduation from the University of Nevada, Reno. By January 2004, he was traded by the Indians with Maicer Izturis to the Montreal Expos for Scott Stewart.

Church made his major league debut for the Expos in August 2004, struggling in the 30 games he played in the last two months of the season. He ended the season with a .187 batting average.

After struggling in the first month of the 2005 season Church was considered a candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award, until he injured himself running into the outfield wall at PNC Park on June 22, 2005. At the time of the incident, Church was batting .325 with a .544 slugging percentage. After the incident, Church made two trips to the disabled list and was unable to match his hitting performance from the first half of the season.

In 2006, Church was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans after struggling early in the year. However, Church was sent back to the majors on July 23, and ended up hitting .276 with a career best 10 home runs and .892 OPS. His 10 home runs in just 196 at-bats in 2006 projects to around 30 home runs for an entire season.

In 2007, Church had career highs in games (144), at bats (470), runs (57), hits (128), doubles (43), home runs (15), and RBI (70). He finished the year batting .272, slugging .464 and a .813 OPS.

After the 2007 season, Church was heavily mentioned in trade talks, with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Minnesota Twins all reportedly very interested in his services. However, on November 30, 2007, Church was traded along with Brian Schneider to the New York Mets for Lastings Milledge.[1]

In spring training 2008, Church was involved in a collision with first baseman Marlon Anderson that resulted in a Grade 2 concussion for Church. He recovered without any serious injuries. On May 20, 2008, Church suffered a minor concussion while sliding into Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar. It appeared as though when Church initially slid, his head made contact with Escobar's right knee. Following Church hitting his head, he slid about eight feet past 2nd base with his forehead dragging on the dirt. Church made his return to the starting lineup on June 1, 2008, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, collecting three hits including a home run and a double. However, he was placed on the disabled list with aftereffects of the concussion he suffered. On September 3, Church had his second career grand slam off of Dave Bush.

On July 10, 2009, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Jeff Francoeur[2], but was designated for assignment on December 8, 2009 in order to make room for the return of Rafael Soriano.[3]

On December 12, 2009, four days after designating Church for assignment, the Atlanta Braves decided to non-tender him making Church a free agent.

On January 11, 2010, Church agreed to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The deal will not be official until he passes a physical.[4]

His batting songs are Korn's "Hold On" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train".

Controversy

In 2005, the Nationals suspended Jon Moeller, a volunteer chaplain, and issued an apology after Church, a devout Christian, revealed conversations he had with him about a Jewish former girlfriend. Church told the Washington Post that the chaplain nodded when he asked whether Jews were "doomed" because they "don't believe in Jesus." After Jewish community leaders complained, Church issued a statement saying, "I am not the type of person who would call into question the religious beliefs of others." [5]

References

External links

Preceded by
Clint Barmes
National League Rookie of the Month
May 2005
Succeeded by
Garrett Atkins

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