Blog Entry

Mets have a Maine mess

Posted on: May 21, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2010 7:47 pm
 
NEW YORK -- The always-in-turmoil Mets enter this weekend's Subway Series in, you guessed it, turmoil.

The front-burner subject: starting pitcher John Maine, who was pulled after five pitches Thursday night in Washington, wasn't happy about it, and now has landed on the disabled list.

It's yet another Mets injury, but also yet more Mets trouble, because Maine's anger with the team, and the team's anger with him, played out in public.

Told that the right-handed Maine said Friday he wanted to pitch even if he had to throw with his left hand, manager Jerry Manuel responded, "He might have better stuff lefty."

Just before Friday's game against the Yankees, the Mets announced that Maine was going on the DL with "right shoulder weakness," and that he would undergo tests on the shoulder next week. They called up veteran Elmer Dessens to take Maine's roster spot.

But the Maine issue involves more than just whether he can pitch. Maine and Manuel argued in the dugout after Maine was removed from Thursday's game, and club sources said Maine had another uncomfortable conversation with pitching coach Dan Warthen on the Mets' charter flight home.

Manuel didn't dismiss a suggestion that Maine was guilty of insubordination.

The Mets, who already made two changes in their rotation in the last week (the awful Oliver Perez and the injured Jonathan Niese out, R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi in), spent part of Friday afternoon discussing who will now take Maine's place, even before they had officially scratched him from the rotation.

It seems clear that the Mets (or at least the manager and coaching staff) have no interest in putting Perez back in the rotation. But one Mets official added that "money talks," referring to the $12 million the Mets are paying Perez this season.

The Mets have insisted that Maine see a doctor, because his velocity hasn't been consistent all season. It was a particular concern Thursday, when he wasn't throwing hard in the bullpen, then began the game by throwing five pitches clocked by MLB.com's GameDay at 82-85 mph.

Maine told reporters that he was healthy, causing Warthen to then call the pitcher "a habitual liar," at least when it comes to his own health.

Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-22 and in last place in the National League East, and New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro has already called for Manuel to be fired.

That just adds to the sense of turmoil around the team, particularly since Manuel hasn't shied away from the job-status talk.

Asked Friday whether the season feels less like a marathon when he's fighting daily for his job, Manuel responded, "Regardless if it's short for me, I have to manage as it's a marathon for the team."

Does it feel short for him?

"It could be," he said. "But I don't look at it that way."

Just another day in the life of baseball's messiest team.


Category: MLB
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