John Maine Works His Way Back to Health in the Mets Rotation

Wendy AdairAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 31:  John Maine #33 of the New York Mets pitches against  the Florida Marlins during their game on May 31, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

John Maine made his second pitching start since June 5 for the Mets yesterday against the Washington Nationals and was extremely impressive.

Maine pitched five shutout innings and only gave up two singles and one walk while striking out one. Of the 75 pitches thrown in those five innings, 50 of them were strikes, and Maine did have good control over both his two- and four-seam fastball.

In 2010, the Mets will have to decide on who will be their No. 2 starter behind Johan Santana; the choices look to be Maine, Mike Pelfrey, or a pitcher to be acquired in the offseason.

The 2009 season saw Maine out of action from early August through September, but he remained in the dugout and clubhouse to cheer on his teammates as much as possible.

Maine had a bone spur removed from his shoulder in October of 2009 and did attempt to pitch in early 2009, but he felt arm fatigue on days between pitching starts, and the Mets decided to shut him down to rehabilitate his arm.

The Mets need to be sure that Maine can be an effective No. 2 starter before they put him in that role, but the competition between Maine and Pelfrey for that spot could be compromised if Omar Minaya decides to pursue starting pitchers this winter.

Maine impressed the fans and the team alike in 2006, including the postseason starts that he made, and in 2007 he notched the impressive 13-0 win over the Marlins on the second-to-last day of the epic collapse.

Maine and Pelfrey look to be long-time Mets and both of their contributions to the starting rotation will be pivotal to the success of the Mets.

Every start made by Santana is expected to be a success, but with Ollie Perez being the epitome of inconsistency and the question marks of Pelfrey's confidence and Maine's shoulder health, Mets fans find themselves waiting on pins and needles in between their ace's starts.

Should Maine prove that his shoulder problems are a thing of the past, it is one less day a week that Mets fans have reason to dread watching the games.