Concerned Mets place Maine on DL

Concerned Mets place Maine on DL

NEW YORK -- After a brief and messy exchange of words, the Mets placed starting pitcher John Maine on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with what the club termed "right shoulder weakness."

The move came less than a day after manager Jerry Manuel removed Maine from his start against the Nationals in Washington due to concern over the right-hander's lack of velocity.

"I just need some answers," Manuel said on Friday, before Maine underwent an examination at Citi Field.

The Mets recalled right-hander Elmer Dessens from Triple-A Buffalo and expected him to arrive at Citi Field during Friday's night's Subway Series opener against the Yankees.

Still smoldering after being removed from Thursday night's 10-7 win after just five pitches, Maine said at roughly 4 p.m. ET on Friday that he had not yet been informed of the plan, and that he had not spoken with Manuel since their confrontation on the mound in Washington.

Manuel intimated that the results of Maine's examination would determine whether he takes his next turn in the rotation. After the examination revealed shoulder weakness, Maine landed on the disabled list, casting both his future and that of the rotation in doubt.

After Thursday's game, Manuel said that he removed Maine due to the righty's lack of velocity. Maine said he was simply warming on the mound and that he felt fine, though the radar gun provided evidence to the contrary -- after throwing his first two pitches 82 and 83 mph, Maine threw each of his final three pitches at 85 mph.

For most of this season, Maine had been sitting in the high 80s with his fastball, touching 90 mph on occasion.

After the game, Maine stressed that he was unhappy with the way the situation was handled. In addition, pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a "habitual liar" regarding his own health. But Manuel said on Friday that Maine knew he was going to be under close surveillance and that the situation should not have come as a surprise.

"I think there's something there physically," Manuel said. "But I could be wrong."

Maine has a history of physical ailments, and he has never been the same since undergoing surgery to shave a bone spur from his shoulder after the 2008 season. But the right-hander has insisted all year that he is now healthy -- even if the Mets disagree.

"He wants to compete, and I'm trying to protect him from what I thought could be a dangerous situation for him and for the team," Manuel said before the examination. "That was basically what the confrontation was about -- him competing and me trying to protect him."

"I'm not on bad terms with anybody," Maine said. "I don't want to be on bad terms with anybody. I understand their position and what they've got to do, and I hope they understand my position. I want to pitch. If I have to go out there and throw left-handed, that's what I want to do, because I want to go out and pitch."

To replace Maine, the Mets have few options. Already forced to plug Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey into a crumbling rotation, the club could call on Minor Leaguer Pat Misch to step into Maine's spot. But Misch is not an ideal solution.

Dessens had been pitching exclusively out of the bullpen for Buffalo, going 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA.

-- Anthony DiComo