Is Ryan Church the New York Mets' Unsung Hero?

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 09:  Ryan Church #19 of the New York Mets rounds the bases against the Philadelphia Phillies during their game at Citi Field on June 9, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

It’s funny how things have changed. A little over two months ago Mets skipper Jerry Manuel had all but officially denounced Ryan Church as an everyday player. There were rumblings that Church would eventually be traded. For the next month or so Church fell out of the limelight, rarely earning a start in right field.

However, the team began to drop like flies to the injury bug. First it was Carlos Delgado. And then others, including outfielders Carlos Beltran and reserve Angel Pagan that went onto the disabled list as well. At first Jerry tried to install rookie phenom Fernando Martinez in center field.

When Martinez showed he was not yet ready for the task of everyday center fielder Manuel had no choice but to put Ryan Church in the lineup everyday. Rather than, dwell on his lack of playing time earlier in the season, Church has proved Manuel wrong on the field.

Since June 22nd, which is the day Carlos Beltran went down with a knee injury Church has a .359 average (14 hits in 39 AB) and has driven in six runs.  This includes two game winning hits in the past two games against the Pirates and Brewers respectively.

As a matter of fact, excluding his dreadful campaign in May where he hit .224, Ryan has hit well over .300 in both April and June.

For a team that has struggled recently offensively these numbers are very impressive.

In the field Church has been no slouch defensively either. In his natural position, right field, Church has a solid 0.990 fielding percentage.

Recently, in order to accommodate the club’s needs, Church has moved into the more challenging center field. Although he has only played a handful of games there, Church looks rather comfortable.

While only sporting a .292 average and 21 RBIs, Church may not be the glamorous hitter, like Matt Holliday or Aubrey Huff that fans have been seeking, however he is getting the job done and deserves a little bit of recognition.