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06/26/08 9:44 PM ET

Church one step closer to returning

Outfielder plays five innings for Class A Brooklyn

NEW YORK -- For weeks now, the talk has been all about what Ryan Church could and couldn't do -- with a heavy emphasis on the latter. But not anymore.

Church took his most tangible step toward returning to the Mets on Thursday, playing five innings for Class A Brooklyn and finishing 3-for-3 at the plate. He will play again on Friday, and could join the Mets as soon as this weekend.

Church, on the disabled list since June 6 with post-concussion syndrome, rapped out two infield hits and a double, scoring one run and driving in another. He did not have any outfield chances. Among those watching Church play were vice president of player development Tony Bernazard and general manager Omar Minaya, who will make a decision regarding Church's availability after Friday night's game in Brooklyn.

Church was batting .300 with 10 home runs before suffering his second concussion of the year in late May. The Mets placed him on the disabled list roughly two weeks later.

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