John Maine's 2008 season was cut significantly short last year due to shoulder pain and stiffness which required surgery in late September to repair bone spurs behind his shoulder blade.
Maine missed his last seven starts, but remained with the Mets during that time to support his friends and teammates, though he was extremely frustrated that his contribution was limited to the role of dugout cheerleader.
This spring has seen him struggle for control and velocity in the few starts that he has had in exhibition games. He has yet to prove that he is comfortable on the mound, and this is a concern for him as a player and the Mets as a team. Maine is 27 years old so he does have the luxury of tweaking his approach and working on his pitches, his latest venture is his curveball.
There is still a lot of time before he will be called on to pitch in the regular season, but he does tend to over-think on the mound and dwell on past failures. In order for him to be effective, he will need at least two or three quality starts for his own comfort and confidence in his command.
I think he will do fine once David Wright returns to camp from the WBC as the two are close friends and Wright spends a lot of time counseling Maine on his pitching locations, both during and between innings.
Like the rest of his Mets teammates, Maine is very proud and at the same time, very concerned about Wright and his health, especially the events of this week.
Time will certainly tell, but in order for the Mets to be successful this season, a comfortable and effective John Maine is essential to the pitching rotation..
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