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“It’s one of those trades that I think both teams did well,” Minaya said yesterday. “With Lastings, they got themselves a really good young player. We got something that’s going to impact us right away.”

Minaya is banking on Schneider and Church to hold up their end of the bargain. Church, who hit .272 with 15 homers and 70 RBI last season, enters spring training as the Mets’ only real option in right field. Schneider, who hit only .235 in his final season in Washington, is being counted on to get the most out of a star-studded pitching staff that now includes two starters who have won a combined five Cy Young Awards: Santana and Pedro Martinez.

The situation seems like a positive one for Schneider and Church, who won’t be asked to carry the Mets’ potent lineup but rather serve as complementary players. Church figures to hit seventh and Schneider eighth, a spot from which he can focus more on defense than offense.

“They want me to concentrate on that,” Schneider said. “It makes me feel real good to know that what they want me to do is probably what I do best.”

There have been adjustments to make already this spring. Church is getting used to the constant attention New York ballplayers get from rabid fans and oppressive media members, a far cry from the relatively timid public glare of playing in the District.

Schneider is getting used to hearing fans scream out his name every time he jogs from one practice field to another, not to mention the steady stream of celebrities and baseball dignitaries who stroll through Mets camp on a daily basis. To wit: He spent part of Saturday schmoozing with Sandy Koufax and was floored when the Hall of Famer knew plenty about him.

All of it can be a bit overwhelming for a couple of ballplayers who were anonymous in Montreal and then only marginally well known in Washington. Neither has played for a true playoff contender, and neither has been surrounded by the kind of talent found in the Mets’ clubhouse.

Which may explain why no one can wipe those ever-present smiles off their faces these days.

“I couldn’t ask right now to be in a better situation,” Schneider said.

Added Church: “This, this is the real deal. We’ve got superstars here. The sky’s the limit. It feels good to be a part of that.”