Apr 07

April 7.10: Maine says he’s fine; gets start tonight.

There was a time when John Maine was considered a throw-in from Baltimore in the Kris/Anna Benson trade, but his strong showing at the end of the 2006 season and 15 wins in 2007 gave hope he could evolve into a dependable No. 2 starter.

“No. 2, that’s just a number,’’ Maine said. “I just need to get out there, stay healthy and I believe I’ll be fine.’’

Maine had shoulder surgery at the end of the 2008 season and admitted this spring that he rushed himself back last year contributing to his arm problems.

“I learned a lesson,’’ he said.

At 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA in spring training, it’s hard to defend Maine’s performance other than saying the numbers don’t count and he was working on things. Pitching with a migraine and stomach virus, Maine gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings in his exhibition finale against Washington.

(NOTE: Part of juggling the rotation was to avoid the Nationals getting another look at Maine so quickly).

Maine brushed off his performance, saying: “My arm feels fine. Shoulder feels good. That’s the top priority.’’

The numbers haven’t been there, but Maine insists he’s not worried and he’s throwing the ball better than anytime after the 2007 season. He said the ball is just flowing out of his hand.

“I think the last time it came out easy without trying to really force anything was spring training 2008,” Maine said. “I might have been throwing a little harder then, but it’s coming out good.’’

Nov 05

Catching up ….

Sorry for the brief hiatus, but when Mother Migraine decides she wants to put you on your butt you have no choice but to go down. Slept most of yesterday and awoke to the news we have a new president and the Mets probably won’t make much of a splash in the FA market.

Been trying to catch up on the Hot Stove News and there’s really not much that’s surprising. We know the Yankees are offering money to just about everybody while the Mets figure not to stray far from their $143 million payroll from last year.

Most of the news seems to substantiate what we’ve been talking about here, that the Mets will go after pitching, pitching and somebody to throw the ball to the catcher. They’d like to keep Oliver Perez and sign Derek Lowe, and they’ve targeted Brian Fuentes as their closer.

Nothing shocking there.

The Mets don’t figure to go after a big bat because they don’t believe that’s why they lost. Their problems hitting with runners in scoring position were brought into greater focus because of the 29 blown saves. Cut that in half, they figure, and the NL East would have been theirs for the taking.

Actually, that was their same philosophy each of the last two winters. After 2006, there was the belief of entitlement, that after coming so close they would naturally take the next step. After 2007, there was a feeling the collapse was an aberration and they were still the team to beat.

Not so then, and maybe not so now.