Tracking the John Maine Not-So-Magical Mystery Tour
Originally — meaning, back in March — he claimed he was “fine”, despite poor performance and an inability to break 88 MPH. There was a point where Jerry Manuel suggested — to the media — that Maine’s spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. After a meeting between the two, Maine claimed that throwing secondary pitches ruined his velocity, and would make a mechanical tweak and go back to his style of throwing almost all fastballs.
After a few bad games, it was discovered that his LEFT arm was bothering him — as opposed to the right one, which underwent surgery and was the limb responsible for the 10 MPH drop in velocity.
A few more bad starts later, Jerry Manuel removed Maine from a game after walking the leadoff batter. The two then exchanged heated words in the dugout. Afterward, pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a “habitual liar”.
Maine was placed on the DL, and recently rehabbed in the minors. Despite more poor performances, Maine again claimed himself fit, and there was some buzz that he wouldn’t be interested in returning to the club as a reliever — though, he publicly stated he’d be OK with pitching out of the bullpen.
This is where things start to get weird (or, weirder) …
1. June 7: Jerry Manuel admits that Maine will be considered for the bullpen, since R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi are pitching so well.
2. June 18: After a lackluster rehab performance, Maine sounds clinically delusional, or at least in denial, as he blamed the umpire for his poor outing. Otherwise, though, he was healthy — according to him. He reiterates that he’ll be happy to pitch in the bullpen for the Mets if necessary.
3. June 19, AM: Jerry Manuel states that Hisanori Takahashi will not be removed from the rotation to make room for John Maine, and that Maine would not go to the bullpen. A dull thump is heard as the bus tires ride over John Maine’s body.
3. June 19, PM: Jerry Manuel informs the media that Maine “didn’t feel well” after his last start. Omar Minaya confirms this sentiment.
4. June 20: John Maine’s career is in “jeopardy”, as he will be shut down and his arm will be re-evaluated by the organization. On a side note, Dan Warthen explains that Maine could not be a reliever because his arm is not resilient enough.
So what’s next for John Maine on this mysterious tour of pain, lies, and videotape? All we know is that the situation is day-to-day. We also know that Manuel and Warthen agree that Maine is neither likable nor trustworthy. And, we know that Manuel and Warthen enjoy driving buses and hanging their dirty laundry on their front lawn. Additionally, we have the option to like Maine, and also wonder if the young man is having serious problems accepting the fact that a god-given gift has been taken away from him. It doesn’t make him a bad person — it makes him human.
This week, there will be some kind of a medical evaluation — presumably tests and and MRI — to see if there’s something still wrong with his shoulder. We don’t know for certain whether Maine was lying when he said his shoulder was “fine” or if the Mets are keeping him on the DL because a pitcher with a flat 85-MPH fastball and nothing else cannot succeed in MLB.
What we know for sure is that Maine is not an MLB-caliber pitcher at this moment — and hasn’t been for some time. Further, there is a very good chance that Maine has thrown his last pitch as a New York Met.