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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Late Mets News and Notes: Marcum Discomfort, Dave Howard to MSG, Murphy Plays Again, Collins on Feliciano decision

Mets News and Notes:

Shaun Marcum is an important piece of the Mets’ starting rotation, but a stalled bullpen session Monday left the team wondering if he will be ready to start the season.

Two major league sources told the Daily News that Marcum complained of neck discomfort Monday. That occurred during a bullpen session intended as a final check to make sure he was ready to make a Grapefruit League start on Thursday. According to the sources, Marcum is now highly unlikely to make that start.

Asked if Marcum’s readiness for the regular season next week was a concern, a source said, “That’s fair to say.”

It is unclear who would take Marcum’s spot in the rotation if, as the team now fears, he is not ready for the season.

Lefthander Aaron Laffey, sent to minor league camp after a rough start on Sunday, had been considered next in line, but one source said that he “doubt(ed) it would be Laffey.”

Mets executive vice president for business Dave Howard is leaving the ballclub. He will become president of MSG Sports, the company announced. He will begin work April 9.

The Mets indicated that team executives Paul Asencio, Leigh Castergine and David Newman will now join Mike Landeen in reporting to Jeff Wilpon to absorb Howard's role for the near future. Wilpon also will pick up some of Howard's duties.

Daniel Murphy played in a minor league game for a second straight day Monday. This time, Murphy went 0-for-5 and logged seven innings at second base in Port St. Lucie in a Triple-A game as he works back from a strained intercostal muscle on his right side.

Terry Collins said the issue in deciding not to place Pedro Feliciano on the Opening Day roster was not the fact he was throwing 82-83 mph. Instead, the manager suggested, the issue in determining Feliciano would not make the team out of spring training was that Feliciano's shoulder was not yet strong enough to work consecutive days.

The Mets have asked Feliciano to go to Triple-A Las Vegas for a month. Feliciano said he needed to consult with his agent before determining whether he will accept.

"We've reached the stage where we just thought we'd like to see him build up some shoulder strength," Collins said. "We're not saying velocity -- just back-to-back stuff. One of the things we saw was the second day we brought him back, his stuff wasn't as crisp as the first. He's the kind of guy that we're going to need to do that. If he's going to make a difference, which he has in his career, you've got to know you can bring him in back-to-back days and he's still going to be sharp.

"The velocity, due to the surgeries he's had, the shoulder issues he's had, we weren't sure he was ever going to throw as hard as he used to. In his case, it was just a matter of it's very, very important to know we've got guys in our bullpen that can go two, maybe three days in a row. I just said, 'Hey, look, we want you here. I think you'll be here fast. You just need to do some more back-to-backs to build up your shoulder strength.'

"You look at our rotation and outside of maybe a couple of guys in there, we don't have a lot of strikeout pitchers. It's going to be a situation where we've got to use our bullpen. And we've got to make sure we've got the guys down there that we can use several days a week, and sometimes multiple innings. We think Pedro will help us. I just hope he hangs on and spends a little time getting his shoulder in better condition."

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