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McCann happy for good friend Francoeur

McCann happy for good friend Francoeur

NEW YORK -- It's been more than two months since the Braves traded Jeff Francoeur, and over the course of time, Brian McCann has grown used to seeing his best friend wearing a Mets uniform.

"It really doesn't seem to be weird any more," McCann said. "It's just good to see him doing good."

When the Braves traded Francoeur on July 10, there was reason to wonder how he would handle relocating to New York. A lifetime resident of the Atlanta area, the 25-year-old outfielder was saying goodbye to his family, the only organization he'd ever known and his friends.

But it didn't take Francoeur long to prove that the brighter lights of New York didn't provide him the same kind of pressure that he placed on himself in Atlanta, where he'd developed into a legendary scholastic athlete at Parkview High School.

When the Braves and Mets conclude their season series at Citi Field on Wednesday night, Francoeur will have his last opportunity of the year to face his former team.

"I've still got a lot of good friends over there [in the Braves clubhouse]," Francoeur said. "But I'm really happy here and have enjoyed everything about playing in New York."

The trade created an odd situation for McCann and Francoeur. Best friends since they were first introduced while playing youth baseball at the age of 12, they were now going to be opponents for the first time since the Braves had selected them both within the first two rounds of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

On nearly a daily basis over the course of the past couple of months, McCann and Francoeur have continued to communicate on the phone. But instead of focusing their discussions on baseball, they've found themselves primarily just catching up on life's other developments.

During the 82 games that Francoeur played for the Braves this year, he hit .250 with five homers and a .634 OPS. In the 65 games that he'd played for the Mets entering Tuesday, he'd hit .310 with seven homers and an .822 OPS.

"It's like night and day for him now," McCann said. "He's back to driving the ball to right field and left field."

The Braves will be attempting to complete a three-game sweep of the Mets for the second consecutive week. Atlanta understands that it will need to win almost all of its remaining 11 games to have any chance to move to the top of the National League Wild Card standings.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP Tim Hudson (1-1, 3.70 ERA)
Hudson retired the first 10 Phillies batters he faced on Friday night but was then damaged by the power of Ryan Howard, whose two homers accounted for the three runs the Braves right-hander allowed in seven innings. Four starts into his return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, Hudson finds himself still searching for consistent control. Still, two blown saves are all that separate him from winning each of his first three starts.

NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey (10-11, 5.10 ERA)
Pelfrey was pedestrian his last time out against the Nationals on Friday, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits in seven innings. Two of those eight hits were two-run home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bard, respectively, which helped push Pelfrey's record under .500 for the year. While Pelfrey's career struggles against the Marlins have been well-documented, it's actually the Braves who have given him the most trouble. In nine career games against Atlanta, Pelfrey is 2-4 with a 6.29 ERA -- his second-highest ERA against a National League team. Pelfrey was battered around in his last start against the Braves, giving up a career-high nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in an 11-0 loss.

Tidbits
McCann exited Tuesday night's game because of a bruised left wrist that he incurred courtesy of a foul ball that struck him in the second inning. ... Kenshin Kawakami, who notched a four-inning save on Monday night, isn't scheduled to return to the rotation this year. As long as they remain mathematically alive in the postseason standings, the Braves aren't going to rest rookie right-hander Tommy Hanson. ... Garret Anderson is 10 hits shy of collecting 2,500 in his career. ... Chipper Jones is one homer shy of tying Hall of Famer Billy Williams for 40th place on Major League Baseball's all-time list. Jones needs three more homers to extend his streak of 20-homer seasons. He currently shares the Major League record of 14 consecutive 20-homer seasons with Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SPSO

On radio
• 640 WGST, Project 9-6-1

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Braves (Javier Vazquez, 14-9, 2.91) at Nationals (John Lannan, 9-12, 4.07), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Braves (Tommy Hanson, 10-4, 2.85) at Nationals (TBD), 1:05 p.m. ET

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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