"You're activated," Maine was told, taking a disabled-list stint that started on Aug. 25 and ending it before Wednesday night's game against the Cubs. The simulated game on Monday and the light tossing on Tuesday had brought to fruition a long-anticipated end. Of course, Maine finally felt like he was back.
Nothing much else was discussed. In fact, the move did not guarantee much of anything for the 27-year-old right-hander, because Manuel admitted a little bit of hesitance on Thursday about throwing Maine.
From his perspective, the prospect of throwing Maine despite potential pain is disconcerting. But when Manuel takes a moment to consider Maine's anxiousness to return, he realizes that the pitcher just wants to be a part of this team.
"For me, the reward is being activated," Manuel said, speaking for Maine. "For now, how I use him is very questionable.
"For him, he wanted to be a part of this and felt he could be a part of this."
Maine would not back down on Thursday from his stance on pitching. Despite the news that he might keep sitting out, Maine could not call this comeback a waste of time.
He wants to pitch, even if it's with a dose of pain. If he really ratchets it up, Maine can hit 92-93 mph on the radar gun, and he is confident he can pitch an inning. Or if it comes down to it, one batter will do.
Maine has no worries about worsening the injury, because doctors tell him he can't, and whenever he has the operation to remove the spur, Maine will be well ahead of schedule to make Spring Training.
The nasty taste of his last outing -- surrendering eight runs in 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 23 -- doesn't even linger at this point. Nothingness has him starved for anything. Maine isn't asking to enter a 4-3 game. As he says again and again, Maine just wants to take the ball during this run to the playoffs.
"I want to pitch," Maine said. "I wouldn't try to come back if I didn't want to pitch and get out there. If they think it's better that I don't pitch in a close situation right now, I understand that. It's tough to deal with, because I get activated, go to the 'pen and feel like I'm actually part of something.
"He's the manager," Maine continued, expressing appreciation for Manuel's job and the decisions he has to make down the stretch. "I think he's looking out for my health. It's a tough situation for him. I don't think, because I am active, that means I have to go in there."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less