NEW YORK -- True to his word, John Maine underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday, one day after packing his bags and leaving Shea Stadium. The procedure, performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan by the club's medical director, Dr. David Altchek, and team physician Struan Coleman, removed a lesion from the back of Maine's shoulder socket.

The plan is for Maine to begin rehabilitation immediately and resume throwing as part of his offseason workouts. The club anticipates that he will be fully recovered before Spring Training.

Maine, 27, was shut down in late August because of persistent pain in the shoulder. He made his final start of the season on Aug. 23, allowing eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Astros at Shea Stadium. He finished his third Mets season with a 10-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 25 starts and 140 innings. His career record with the Mets now is 31-23.

Had Maine remained active and uncompromised, he might have filled the void created by the season-ending injury to Billy Wagner. As it was, he stopped throwing when he was assigned to the disabled list in August and then tried to recondition his arm in hopes of returning to pitch in relief in the season's final days.

Though the club's medical team was certain that Maine wouldn't cause greater damage to the arm by pitching, manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen were not persuaded to use a pitcher who hadn't thrown competitively for weeks.

Now, with the Mets beginning to search for a replacement for Wagner, Maine is an unlikely candidate to fill the closer role. And he'll become even more unlikely if the club doesn't re-sign Oliver Perez. Eligible for free agency after the World Series, Perez could sign elsewhere, leaving Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Maine as the only starting pitchers with more than modest big league resumes.

The chance of Pedro Martinez returning is remote, at best.