January 10, 2007

Maine on next season

Anthony McCarron at the NY Daily News, writes about John Maine and how he isn't panicking about next season:

In previous winters, John Maine would have agonized over the Mets' pursuit of various big-name pitchers. Would the possibility of a new star coming to Shea mean Maine would be bumped out of a place in the rotation?

By his own admission, Maine has a track record of fretting over such things.

"I used to worry about what was going to happen and when it was going to happen," he says.

"I don't take that for granted at all," Maine says. "I still have to work hard and improve. I just want to go in there in good shape and still try to make them realize I should be there."

While Maine still might have a lot to prove, life has changed for the 25-year-old. Less than a year ago, he was trapped in the Orioles' organization, unknown to Met fans until a Jan.21 trade that sent Kris Benson to Baltimore for Maine and Jorge Julio. Now Mets GM Omar Minaya calls him "the key to that deal."

People always knew him around Stafford County, but Maine is more of a celebrity now, especially because of the playoffs, in which he was 1-0 with a 2.63ERA in three starts.

"He's the same old John we know well and love," Lopez says. "He comes over for dinner. He comes around the kids and talks. He'll throw a bullpen and still asks what I see. Great young man."

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