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Marcum, Wheeler set to pitch in Grapefruit opener


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler will receive his first taste of big league competition on Saturday, when he takes the mound for the Mets in their first Grapefruit League game of 2013 against the Nationals.

Wheeler will pitch in relief of Shaun Marcum, who will start the 12:10 p.m. game opposite Stephen Strasburg at Tradition Field. The Mets plan to use something close to their projected Opening Day lineup, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis leading off and playing center field, Lucas Duda in left field and Marlon Byrd in right. The only missing piece will be second baseman Daniel Murphy, who remains sidelined with a strained right intercostal muscle.

Darin Gorski, Cory Mazzoni and Jeurys Familia are also scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

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