Maine makes progress, but 'pen may be fate

Maine makes progress, but 'pen may be fate

NEW YORK -- John Maine threw another bullpen session Sunday and continues to make steady progress in his return from right rotator cuff tendinitis. But to what end? With Jon Niese off the disabled list and both Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey performing adequately in the rotation, the Mets do not have much room for Maine.

It is possible, then, that once Maine returns -- after a batting practice session on Tuesday and a full slate of Minor League rehab outings -- he could slot into the bullpen.

"That's not too radical," manager Jerry Manuel said. "I think we will have to look at all options and see where we are as a team, see where he fits."

The possibility may not amount to much to the Mets if a rotation member suffers due to injury or poor performance between now and the time Maine is ready to return from the DL -- still weeks away.

But it is a possibility, and the Mets could use the bullpen help.

Entering Sunday's play, Mets relievers had posted a 9.55 ERA over their previous eight games, including a 19.44 mark over three games in San Diego. They ranked last in the Majors with 103 walks.

Maine has not pitched in relief since 2006.