Mets beat Italy by a run

March 5, 2009 7:53:35 PM PST
John Maine's arm feels fine. It's everything else that seems out of sync. Still trying to polish his delivery following offseason shoulder surgery, Maine walked his first three batters Thursday and labored through two scoreless innings of the New York Mets' 3-2 comeback victory over Italy's entry in the World Baseball Classic.

"I just don't feel good out there," Maine said. "I don't feel comfortable. I am trying to do something different mechanically every pitch and nothing is working, and I just feel terrible out there."

Maine had surgery Sept. 30 to shave a bone spur in his right shoulder. He said his struggles this spring are all about mechanics and overthinking - his arm feels fine.

"I don't have any pain, so I don't think it's that," Maine said. "I feel like I am trying too hard. I'm trying to do more than I should be doing right now, and whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know."

In his previous outing Sunday, Maine gave up a home run for his only hit but also walked two and threw a wild pitch.

"I just didn't think it would take that long. I thought after a few bullpens, a few games down here, I'd start feeling more comfortable, but that hasn't been the case yet," he said.

Maine allowed two hits and struck out three.

He also got some help from his teammates. Left fielder Marlon Anderson threw out Vinny Rottino, a catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, at home to end the second inning and save a run.

The Mets trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth before Cory Sullivan tied it with a two-run homer. Jeremy Reed doubled in the game-winning run.

"I just tried to make the best of the opportunity," said Reed, competing for a bench spot in the outfield.

Reed also had a triple in the third inning and contributed on defense when he threw out Giuseppe Mazzanti trying to stretch a single into a double.

Reed was acquired from Seattle in the offseason trade that also brought reliever J.J. Putz to the Mets.

"I am surprised at the power the other way as the ball hits off his bat. I'm surprised how well he gets a good jump. He's been a pleasant surprise," New York manager Jerry Manuel said. "He's been steadily doing things very well."

Italy dropped to 1-2 against major league teams in WBC tuneups. After the game, the squad was scheduled to fly to Toronto, where it opens the World Baseball Classic on Saturday against Venezuela.

"I think we are playing pretty well," Italian hitting coach and former Mets catcher Mike Piazza said. "There are obviously more talented teams on paper than us, which is why it's important for us to play mistake-free baseball."

Notes: Mets general manager Omar Minaya gave OF Fernando Tatis permission to leave camp and join the Dominican Republic team for the World Baseball Classic. Tatis, invited to replace injured 3B Alex Rodriguez, has spent most of the spring at third base. "It will be great to play for my country," Tatis said. "It's going to be a new experience for me." ... Mets OF Ryan Church was a late scratch and was later seen with a large wrap around his knee, the result of a foul ball he hit off his knee Wednesday against the Nationals. Manuel said Church is day-to-day. ... RHP Tim Redding, a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the rotation who was slowed at the start of camp by shoulder discomfort, faced hitters for the first time in a pregame batting practice. He is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the University of Michigan.