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MIAMI -- John Maine's status may not be certain, but at least it's not severe.

An MRI taken Tuesday revealed that Maine has a mild strain of his right rotator cuff. He is day-to-day and will rejoin the Mets in Houston, though the team did not immediately reveal whether or not Maine will make his scheduled Sunday start against the Astros.

"These types of things, you never know," manager Jerry Manuel said. "And we're going to be very cautious with him, no doubt about it."

Maine left Monday's start against the Marlins after 4 1/3 innings and 75 pitches, despite his vocal desire to remain in the game. Pitching coach Dan Warthen had noticed a hitch in Maine's mechanics, and did not want to risk compounding the injury.

Though Maine had complained of soreness in the days leading up to his outing, the Mets did not consider the injury serious enough to warrant a skipped start, and Manuel said he was unaware that Maine had felt considerable pain while warming in the bullpen. Yet Manuel became plenty aware as Monday's game progressed, and the sensation worsened to the point that Maine's mechanics began to suffer.

"You get soreness," Maine said after the game, "but it's never felt like this before."

Warthen later said that he did not anticipate Maine missing much -- if any -- time, though Manuel noted that he would skip Maine's upcoming Sunday start if even the slightest hint of soreness remained.

The fact that Tuesday's MRI revealed a rotator cuff injury stands in contrast to Warthen's original belief, which was that Maine had not suffered damage to any of the more critical muscles in his right arm. Maine had complained of soreness in the back of his shoulder, not the front, which had at least temporarily eased Warthen's worry.

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