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Maine matters: Ready or not?

The Mets and John Maine still don't seem to be on the same page. Maine pitched 4 1/3 spotty innings on rehab for the Bisons Friday night in Coca-Cola Field but managed to allow just one hit and one unearned run.

Maine says he's ready to return to New York. The Mets said he's going to start once more in Buffalo. That looks like a good idea. He's not big-league ready.

Maine says he's willing to return by pitching in the bullpen. Jerry Manuel told us Wednesday in Cleveland there was almost no way he would do that.

Maine started his brief chat with reporters tonight by dumping on plate umpire Stephen Barga. Maine threw 88 pitches, 50 strikes. Many were up and away. There weren't many close calls to most in the park. Sorry, it wasn't the umpire's issue. And those that follow this blog closely know I'm considered overly harsh at times to the men in blue.

"I thought it was OK. I worked a lot harder than I think I should have," Maine said. "The strike zone for some reason was both inconsistent and just bad. I walked a couple guys I shouldn't have and I just threw too many pitches. That's what happens when you get an umpire like that. The thing was, most of the time I got guys on base,  I did a good job not letting them in and throwing all my pitches for strikes."

Maine never broke 88 mph, save for one pitch in the fourth inning that hit 92 on the ballpark radar gun but appeared to be a techno glitch. He struck out four, walked three and gave up only former Bison Jonathan Van Every's leadoff double in the fifth.

So what's his thought on another start for the Bisons? "I got no thought on it. I can't control anything. Whatever they say is whatever goes."

Maine said the bullpen would be fine for him, Manuel's proclamation to the contrary.

"If they want me in the bullpen, they can put me in the bullpen," he said. "I just want to get back there and pitch. I just want to help out anyway I can. It's the biggest cliche in the world but it's true. I don't know what they're going to do. If they want me to do one more start, then fine one more start. Either way, I'm going to pitch and I'll be all right."

---Mike Harrington

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