Tuesday, October 03, 2006

John Maine - and Pray for Rain?

Games were played, but the biggest news of the day had to be what happened in the Mets' off-day workout.

Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez - the would-be Game 1 starter today against the Dodgers - strained his right calf. The injury further muddied the pitching outlook for the National League's winningest team, which already must forge ahead after having lost Pedro Martinez.

That pitcher had shoulder surgery and is gone for eight months.

Already there has been speculation about whether Martinez's shoulder trouble resulted from his overcompensating for leg injuries in the second half of the season.

That will make the Mets' handling of El Duque (11-11, 4.66) all the more scrutinized, considering cautionary tales about pitchers hurting themselves all the more by allowing leg injuries to mess with arm delivery dates back to Dizzy Dean.

Before the Mets determine Hernandez's immediate future, they must concern themselves with their own. Should Hernandez miss his start against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, his replacement likely won't be Steve Trachsel (15-8, 4.97), who had to leave the team over the weekend for personal reasons.

So that future could now rest with John Maine (6-5, 3.60) - not exactly the hand the Mets envisioned holding the Game 1 mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Or their playoff aspirations, for that matter.

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