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Marcum feeling confident as season debut nears

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NEW YORK -- Once he was back on a mound throwing baseballs again, right-hander Shaun Marcum finally felt normal.

"I kind of took it slow those first couple of days when I got back down to Florida," said Marcum, who spent the past three weeks recovering from nerve inflammation in his neck. "But after that, once I got back on the mound and was able to let the ball go and not feel anything, my confidence shot through the roof. I'm not really worried about it at all right now."

The Mets will officially activate Marcum in time to make his season debut on Saturday against the Phillies following a nearly monthlong stint on the disabled list. He reported to Citi Field on Wednesday and said his "legs, conditioning, all that's underneath me," and expects to throw up to 95 pitches on Saturday.

"It's just a matter of going out there and trying to make these guys put the ball in play early in the count," Marcum said, "and try to get as deep into the game as I can."

Marcum, who posted a 7-4 record and 3.70 ERA in 21 starts for the Brewers last season, is coming off two scoreless outings in extended spring training spanning nine innings. He said it's difficult to gauge the quality of his pitches in those games because the hitters there tended to "swing at everything."

"I guess if the Phillies do that, I'll be OK," he said, laughing.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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