ATLANTA -- John Maine spent his pregame hours Tuesday eating nachos, flipping through his new Dan Brown novel and quizzing Pedro Feliciano on how he spent his off-day -- all before heading outside for a light throwing session. Quickly and efficiently, Maine has assimilated back into big league clubhouse culture.
Now it's just a matter of assimilating back into the rotation. Maine, fresh off his first three innings since June, will pitch again Sunday against the Nationals. And he should round out the year as a member of an evolving Mets rotation.
This week, the Mets will proceed with a six-man rotation: Pat Misch on Tuesday, followed by Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa, Mike Pelfrey, Tim Redding and Maine. Once that stretch is complete, manager Jerry Manuel will likely remove one of the six from the rotation in order to give the other five more regular work over the final two weeks of the season.
"Who is that guy out?" Manuel said with his typical coyness. "Somehow it always works out."
Odds are it won't be Maine, who needs the September work to re-establish his confidence and show off his ability, after spending roughly three months on the disabled list with right shoulder weakness. Maine, though, has already conquered his first and greatest obstacle -- he not only emerged from last Sunday's start in good health, but he reported no ill effects two days later.
"It feels fine," Maine said of the shoulder.
Though he experienced some general -- and typical -- soreness, Maine felt no acute pain and no overwhelming discomfort in his shoulder. "Nothing particular" was how he put it, and that is as good of a sign as he and the Mets could hope for heading down the stretch.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.