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Maine dealing with pinched nerve

HOUSTON -- New York Mets pitcher John Maine will seek a second opinion on his ailing right shoulder after aggravating it this week.

Maine has been on the disabled list since June 7 with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder. He threw 65 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but said afterward that he was feeling discomfort.

Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Friday night that Maine will meet some time next week with orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Maine is one of nine Mets on the disabled list and manager Jerry Manuel didn't sound optimistic that Maine would return this season. Maine is 5-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts.

"It'd be tough with what he's going through," Manuel said before the Mets opened a three-game series in Houston. "There have been times where we've had a ray of hope, where there was no pain involved. But all of a sudden, something jumps up.

"I would hope, obviously for him and for the team, that we get him back at some point. That would be a big plus."

Manuel also said outfielder Gary Sheffield's sore right hamstring would be re-evaluated Saturday. Sheffield left last Friday's game against Atlanta with the injury and ran before Friday's game in Houston.

Manuel said the Mets have gotten "very encouraging" reports about infielder Jose Reyes, who has been on the disabled list since May 21 with tendinitis in his right calf.

"He is progressing extremely well," Manuel said. "If he continues to progress, he should be the guy we look to get back soon."

New York came into Friday's game with a 44-50 record, 10½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

"To get anybody back would be a big shot in the arm for us, at any time, especially within the next two weeks," Manuel said. "It almost has to happen within that timeframe for me, because of where we are in the standings. Time is an issue now, a big issue."