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PADRES DEAL TEMPLETON TO METS FOR INFIELDER TEUFEL

Garry Templeton, who lost his starting shortstop job when the San Diego Padres acquired Tony Fernandez, was traded to the New York Mets Friday for backup infielder Tim Teufel.

Templeton, 35, has been with the Padres since 1982, when he was swapped for Ozzie Smith after spending six seasons in St. Louis. He appeared in 32 games for San Diego this season, hitting .193 with one home run and six RBIs.Teufel, 32, is in his ninth big-league season. Before moving to the Mets in 1986, he played in Minnesota. Teufel began the season with a .262 career average with 61 home runs and 279 RBIs. He has appeared in only 20 games, though, and is hitting just .118 with one homer and two RBIs.

Templeton, unhappy with his status as a pinch hitter and seldom-used utility player, wanted to be traded to a team that would use him. Fernandez has played every inning this season except the last four innings in a blowout loss Sunday at Houston. Templeton replaced Fernandez for those four innings; otherwise, his only action in the field was eight starts at third base.

"It's hard for a fellow who's been a regular for all of his career to all of a sudden be relegated to a reserve role," manager Greg Riddoch said. "But I'm sorry, I'm not going to play him in front of a four-time Gold Glove winner. Check the stats."

Fernandez is hitting .264 with one homer and 12 RBIs. He and first baseman Fred McGriff were acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays last December in exchange for second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielder Joe Carter.

"Before I agreed to the trade, they (Mets) said they were going to let me play," Templeton said. "Here, they weren't going to let me play."

In his second-to-last appearance with the Padres, Templeton hit a pinch, three-run homer in an 8-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.