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Bartolo Colon will start for Mets on Opening Day

New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws

New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws in the first inning of a spring training game against the Washington Nationals, Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Viera, Fla. Credit: AP / David Goldman

JUPITER, Fla. - Bartolo Colon will start for the Mets on Opening Day in Washington on April 6, manager Terry Collins announced Monday.

It was not a surprise.

"I've had it for weeks,'' Collins said.

Jacob deGrom, last year's National League Rookie of the Year, will start the second game in Washington and will be followed by Matt Harvey, who will make his return from Tommy John surgery in an afternoon game at Nationals Park on April 9, possibly against Stephen Strasburg.

Harvey's first home start will come on April 14, the day after deGrom pitches in the Mets' Citi Field opener against the Phillies.

Why not Harvey for either the season or home opener? He has been dominant in spring training, but the Mets didn't consider it.

"He didn't pitch last year,'' Collins said. "It's not a big deal. He's still got to pitch. Look, if we get Matt Harvey his 30-some starts, I'm going to like our chances . . . Harv's going to pitch a lot of them. Over his career, he's going to pitch a lot of Opening Days, but Matt Harvey doesn't care.''

Collins said the Mets factored in that they didn't want Harvey to get too amped up for either plum assignment.

"Not that he's not going to get all fired up for his first start,'' Collins said. "[We] talked about it at length . . . and we just thought this was the way to go.''

The Mets, who have standing-room-only tickets available for the home opener, also will get to count on a big gate for the second game with Harvey returning.

The pitchers were not available for comment after Collins made the announcement following the Mets' 12-3 victory over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. The Mets released a statement in which Colon said, "It's always an honor to start on Opening Day.''

It will be the 41-year-old's seventh Opening Day start and first for the Mets. Colon will be opposed by 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, whom the Nationals announced Monday as their Opening Day starter.

Scherzer likely will be followed by Jordan Zimmermann. Strasburg will face Harvey in a high-octane matchup if Strasburg is recovered from the sprained ankle that has slowed his spring training.

Collins did not announce the first starts for No. 4 starter Jon Niese and the No. 5 starter, which appears to be Dillon Gee unless he is traded or beaten out by Rafael Montero.

Speaking before the announcement, deGrom -- who allowed two runs in four innings Monday -- said: "I've never been to a home opener before, so it'll be my first one. I think to have that would be awesome.''

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