On Friday, the Mets placed starting pitcher John Maine on the 15-day disabled list with what the team called shoulder weakness. Now Anthony DiComo of mlb.com is reporting that John Maine has been diagnosed with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff, as per the results of today’s MRI. The precautionary MRI was deemed necessary when Jerry Manuel removed Maine from Thursday’s game against the Nationals after five pitches due to a lack of velocity.
Although Maine claims that he will be ready to return when his DL stint ends early next month, he will first have to go through a rehabilitation program and will resume throwing as tolerated.
Maine, who was visibly upset at his manager when he was removed after facing one batter in Thursday night’s game has admitted feeling some pain, but does not believe this pain should prevent him from being out on the mound every fifth day. Maine was quoted as saying,
“I guess they want to get to the bottom of what’s going on in there once and for all. I feel that I’m more than capable of going out there every five days. But it’s not my decision. There’s a little bit of pain, but what pitcher doesn’t have pain? It’s the nature of pitching. It wasn’t going to stop me from going every five days.”
Maine’s next start would have been Wednesday night against the Phillies. That start will now be made by Hisanori Takahashi, as tonight’s off-day erases the need for a fifth starter until Saturday’s game against the Brewers. Although no formal announcement has been made, the Mets are likely to give the ball to Raul Valdes for the weekend tilt in Milwaukee.
In other injury-related news, Daniel Murphy has been activated from the 15-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Mets plan on making Murphy a more versatile player by having him play first base, second base, third base, left field and right field with the Bisons.
By being exposed to five different positions, Murphy will look to become this decade’s version of Joe McEwing. The man dubbed “Super Joe” became a fan-favorite by playing multiple positions for the Mets during his five-year stay in New York, including the 2000 pennant winners.
The Mets would be wise not to allow John Maine to make another start at the big league level until he can get his velocity back. Over his last few starts, Maine was throwing mostly fastballs. Depending on one pitch to get major league hitters out is not a recipe for success. If that one pitch is below average, as an 80-something MPH fastball would be, then that pitcher should not be in the major leagues.
On the other hand, the Mets are being very wise by exposing Daniel Murphy to numerous positions at Buffalo. This will allow Murphy to give David Wright and Ike Davis a day off here and there, and will give a little more pop to the second base position. By re-learning how to play the outfield, Murphy could also give Jeff Franceour a few days off as he attempts to overcome his prolonged hitting slump. A Francoeur-Murphy lefty-righty platoon is also not out of the question, provided Murphy can learn to play the position. Remember that Murphy did not have success as the Mets’ leftfielder in 2009. Until he can prove that his defensive skills in the outfield have improved, he should not play anywhere but the infield.
One player is out while another player is on his way back. We hope the Mets can continue to make their way back into contention as well.