From Adam Rubin:
Manuel plans to stay away from Aaron Heilman for a second straight game today, after Heilman tossed three innings Saturday. Told he could now use Heilman as a starter, Manuel said he told Heilman the very same thing.Let's settle this here and now: I'm a fan of Heilman's, he's very good when he's hot, but very bad when he's not. He surrenders too many home runs, as does Johan Santana, but he's a young, capable pitcher and helped the Mets greatly.
I don't care if he starts, if he's the long man, the set up guy or the closer, but don't expect him to magically switch overnight. If you haven't been living under a rock for the past year, you know of Joba Chamberlain. A great starter in the minors for the Yankees, who came up and worked as a reliever at the start of his career. When it was finally decided that he would move into the Yankees rotation, it took weeks for Joba to work his arm and stamina back up to that of a starter.
I hope no one thinks that with John Maine possibly skipping his next start due to his mildly strained rotator cuff, that Heilman could simply step into his role and throw six or seven innings. If you watched the game against the Cardinals where Heilman had to take one for the team and pitch three innings in relief, you could practically see his pitches eroding as he trudged further and further along into the inning and his new highest pitch count kept crawling higher and higher.
If Heilman was to become a starter, the team would need to replace him in the bullpen as well. It would take him a month or two to keep working up to a higher pitch count, making sure everything felt all right. If the decision was made today, Heilman probably wouldn't start a game until the end of August, and even then would have an inning or pitch count cap.
This might be more of a transition for the off-season, maybe if the Mets lose Oliver Perez to free agency a decision might be made, but right now, you just can't flip a switch and have him throwing 100+ pitches without injury. So, hold your horses, and enjoy Heilman as he dominates from the bullpen. Maybe one day he'll be back in the rotation, but not anytime soon.