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Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe bring a little lumber, can loosen Mets' clubhouse

Mets' Juan Uribe is seen at batting practice

Mets' Juan Uribe is seen at batting practice before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, July 25, 2015, at Citi Field. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe are staying in the National League East, but the veteran hitters now will call Citi Field home.

The Mets acquired Johnson, a lefthanded-hitting infielder and leftfielder, and Uribe, a righthanded-hitting third baseman, from the Braves for a pair of minor-league pitchers Friday in an attempt to bolster an offense that is scoring a National League-worst 3.41 runs per game.

Johnson, who started at second base Saturday night against the Dodgers, hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and had a single during the Mets' four-run first inning.

Uribe started the game on the bench but replaced Daniel Murphy at third base to start the seventh and got his first Mets hit in the eighth.

"I think it should be a pretty easy transition," Johnson, 33, said, citing his familiarity with the NL East and his time in New York with the Yankees last season. He also rejoins hitting coach Kevin Long, who served the same role with the Yankees.

Said Johnson, "I'm happy to be here and hopefully . . . help win some games."

Johnson, now hitting .275 with 10 home runs, was traded from the Yankees to Boston and from the Red Sox to the Orioles last season before signing with the Braves in January. He primarily played leftfield and first base for the Braves this year but was a second baseman for most of his career.

Uribe, 36, also has moved around. "I'm trying to help the team, work hard and make it to the playoffs," said Uribe, who was traded from the Dodgers to the Braves in May. He is hitting .274 with eight home runs.

"It certainly gives us two quality major-league bats," manager Terry Collins said of the trade. He said Uribe will not start at third "just yet" but added that he plans to play him "in the next couple of days" and will look to start whomever is swinging the bat well.

"We have not scored, we have not hit," Collins said. "We went out and got two guys we think have added some offense to us. I'm not going to leave them sitting on the bench. If they're going to bring more offense than what we've got, [we're] going to get them in there somewhere."

In addition to the potential boost the trade gives the Mets' lineup, Collins and Johnson said Uribe will be a valued clubhouse presence.

"He makes everybody laugh, he hangs out with everyone," Johnson said. "He's a funny guy and he's super- talented."

"The clubhouse at this time of year becomes a major factor," Collins said. "You're in the pennant race and everyone's a little tighter than they were last week. He'll loosen it up a little bit."

Said Uribe, "For me, these guys that are here right now are my family."

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