Right-Hander Out With Left Arm Injury? Only the Mets
And you'd be right.
The litany of injuries has gone on for a year, and this is one of the least understandable. John Maine, a right-hander, left with two out in the fourth inning of Friday's eventual defeat of the Braves with what the team termed "muscle spasms and pain" on his non-throwing elbow.
(I couldn't help but think of the scene in "Caddyshack" in which Rodney Dangerfield's character tries to get out of the big golf match at the end. Dangerfield gets hit in the left arm by a ricocheting golf ball -- and then starts waving his right arm and claims it's broken.)
Asked if he had ever before seen a right-hander come out with a left-arm injury, Mets manager Jerry Manuel said, "Second time. John Maine."
That's right. Maine left his July 5, 2008, start with what was then called a cramp in his left forearm. He said Friday's issue "feels exactly the same" as that.
Two years ago, Maine made his next start, five days later. This time, Manuel said he wasn't sure if Maine would be able to go next time. If not, Hisanori Takahashi -- who earned his first big-league win Friday with three innings of seven-strikeout, one-run relief -- would be a candidate to start instead.
"We'll come in tomorrow, see how it feels," Maine said. "I don't know what you can do for [treatment].
"I think it's going to be all right. I hope it is."
With the Mets, that's usually not the case.
(Then again, maybe Maine could have left-elbow surgery the next day or two and still make his next start. Why not?)
For Maine, this is the latest in a series of setbacks. He had his 2008 season cut short by a shoulder problem that required surgery, then he spent three months on the disabled list last year with "shoulder weakness." This year, he hasn't been able to spot his fastball or get its velocity above 91 mph.
"I don't know," said Maine, who is 0-1 with an 8.64 ERA and 37 baserunners allowed (25 hits, 10 walks, two hit batters) in 16 2/3 innings. "It's just one thing after another. It just sucks. It's one thing after another so far.
"Overall, I felt fine. ... It's frustrating."
Maine said his left elbow began bothering him on his last two pitches of the third inning. In the fourth, Manuel noticed Maine's fastball was in the low-to-mid 80s -- "we first thought they were changeups."
But the left elbow pain was so bad that Maine couldn't pull down with the arm to get his pitching motion going.
"I couldn't bring my arm down," Maine said. "It locked up and kind of stuck.
"Obviously, it's not a common thing. You don't see that often."
Like never. Except on the Mets.