With that in mind, the Mets officially announced their rotation order Wednesday evening. Jon Niese will pitch Opening Day, followed by Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner. After Niese returns to pitch Game 5 on regular rest, Marcum will make his debut April 7 against the Marlins.
The Mets were not optimistic of that alignment when Marcum abandoned his routine bullpen session on Monday, complaining of neck pain so severe that he could not turn his head. At the time, Marcum said, his thoughts drifted to Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, whose thoracic outlet syndrome led to what appears to be impending retirement.
"I wanted to make sure I'm 100 percent healthy, because it's a game -- I'm not going to play it forever," Marcum said. "I've got to worry about my life after baseball too. It was definitely a concern, but now that I'm feeling better I don't think it's that big a deal."
Marcum had yet to see a doctor as of Wednesday afternoon, but said a regimen of anti-inflammatory medicine had him feeling "a lot better." The Mets expect him to throw a bullpen session Saturday and make some sort of Minor League or simulated start on Tuesday, lining him up for the sixth game of the season.
"The main thing," Marcum said, "is that I'm feeling better and we're heading in the right direction."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.