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Mets' Maine Problem

Jerry Manuel says the Mets face "some tough, tough decisions" in choosing which starting pitcher to remove from the rotation to make room for injured starter John Maine.

Manuel said before Saturday's game that Hisanori Takahashi, who threw six scoreless innings against the Yankees on Friday night, is not a candidate for demotion to the bullpen. He wouldn't speculate further on who'd be banished to the bullpen, but it's hard to see the Mets moving R.A. Dickey (5-0, 2.82 ERA) or the resurgent Jonathon Niese (4-2, 3.64 ERA) . He also said he didn't think Maine was a "good fit" for the bullpen.

John Maine

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets

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Mets GM Omar Minaya said the bullpen is not an "ideal spot" for Maine.

When asked how he would fit the righty in the rotation, Manuel joked he would "pitch him on off days."

"No, I don't know," Manuel added. "We'll wait and see and then we'll have to figure that out."

The Met manager said Maine would be making another minor-league rehab start to bounce back from soreness in his right shoulder. But Minaya said that nothing had been decided regarding the third start and that he, Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen would discuss the next step for Maine Saturday or Sunday.

Neither Manuel nor Minaya had spoken to Maine, who pitched 4 1/3 solid innings in his start for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night, allowing one run (unearned) and one hit.

The team placed Maine on the disabled list on May 21 after a disastrous outing in Washington the night before in which he was pulled after throwing just five pitches.

The Mets have a 30-day window, retroactive to June 13, to decide what to do with Maine. At that point, they can activate him, designate him for assignment or place him back on the disabled list if he suffers another injury.