LOS ANGELES - John Maine's frustration with the Mets' medical staff prompted him to go outside the organization to have arthroscopic surgery Friday on his right shoulder, which was performed by Dr. Michael Cicotti in Philadelphia.
Now that his season is over, it's likely that he's pitched his last game for the Mets, as Maine is a candidate to be non-tendered after this season.
Maine, who is earning $3.3 million, had the procedure to remove scar tissue from the same shoulder that was operated on after the 2008 season. That surgery involved removing a bony growth from the back of the right shoulder. But after what was supposed to be a relatively minor procedure, Maine never fully recovered, going 8-9 with a 4.64 ERA in 24 starts in the next two incomplete seasons.
At his best, Maine threw in the 95-mph range, and he rode that one pitch to a 15-10 mark in 2007 with a career-best 180 strikeouts. He followed that with a 10-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 22 starts in 2008, but he developed shoulder issues later that season and was never the same.
The Mets planned for him to be their No. 4 starter this season. But with greatly diminished velocity - he dropped to the mid-80s - and an inability to throw strikes, Maine clashed with manager Jerry Manuel, who frustrated him further by pulling him from a May 20 game in Washington after only five pitches. Maine was placed on the DL a day later with right shoulder weakness.
"I'm sure he's satisfied," Manuel said. "John Maine wanted the ball regardless of how he felt, and most of our discussion wasn't me getting on John Maine. I was getting on John Maine for hurting John Maine.
"That was our argument. You're hurting yourself and I'm not going to let you do that. People took it to say I was getting on him because I thought he was hurting the team. That was never the case."
Playing too small?
Angel Pagan, newly moved into the No. 3 spot, said Saturday that he bunted on his own Friday night to move runners over in the eighth inning, a strange decision from that spot in the lineup. Still, Manuel, who had been ejected in the second inning, endorsed the idea.
"I think when we set those three guys up there like that, we're actually trying to set tables for later," Manuel said. "Because Angel has been a second hitter, that's not a problem."