The right-hander is expected to be activated from the disabled list to help the Mets try for a second straight victory over the host Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Maine (9-7, 4.13 ERA) has been out with a strained right rotator cuff since his last start July 28. Looking to secure double-digit wins for the second straight season, Maine thought he could have returned over the weekend after throwing a simulated game Friday.
“I felt I could have pitched,” Maine told the Mets’ official Web site. “Taking time off, it feels like two months.”
Though manager Jerry Manuel has mentioned possibly moving Maine to the closer’s role until Billy Wagner comes off the disabled list, he’ll make the start Wednesday.
Maine left his last start with the rotator cuff injury after allowing a run and four hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 win at Florida. He’s 5-2 with a 4.44 ERA in nine starts versus Washington, including 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA against the Nationals in 2008.
New York (63-56), battling Philadelphia and Florida for the NL East title, avoided a third straight loss with a 4-3 victory over Washington on Monday.
The Mets snapped an eighth-inning tie when Damion Easley was hit by a two-strike pitch with the bases loaded, and the team’s beleaguered bullpen held on to record the save. New York relievers allowed three runs in the top of the ninth in a 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.
Beltran, who has three three-hit games in his last six contests, is batting .342 (13-for-38) with eight RBIs in 10 games versus Washington this season.
Ryan Langerhans had a pinch-hit homer Tuesday while former Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge had a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for the Nationals, who have scored eight runs during a five-game skid.
Jason Bergmann (2-8, 4.13) takes the ball for the Nationals looking to win consecutive starts for the first time this season. The right-hander allowed a run and seven hits in seven innings of a 6-3 victory at Colorado on Thursday, his first victory since May 15 over the Mets at Shea Stadium.
“I think he did a fantastic job for us,” manager Manny Acta told the Nationals’ official Web site. “He pitched ahead and (had) some good breaking balls.”
The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out nine in seven innings of a 1-0 win over the Mets in May, improving to 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts against them.