Mets pitcher Shaun Marcum plays catch during a spring training...

Mets pitcher Shaun Marcum plays catch during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 15, 2013) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

The Mets' beleaguered starting rotation finally might start catching a few breaks, with Shaun Marcum and Jonathon Niese appearing on track to start this weekend against the Phillies.

Marcum, 31, has been sidelined since the middle of March with issues in his right shoulder and his neck. But the veteran said Wednesday that he has experienced no issues since coming to New York three weeks ago to treat nerve inflammation in his neck.

"Once I got back on the mound, and was able to let the ball go and not feel anything, confidence just shot through the roof," Marcum said. "I felt good. I'm not really worried about it at all right now."

Marcum said he has been pleased with the command of all his pitches during outings in extended spring training. He is expected to be capped to about 95 pitches when he makes his Mets debut on Saturday afternoon.

"My legs, my conditioning, all that's underneath me," he said. "I feel good there. So, it's just a matter of going out there and trying to make these guys put the ball in play early in the count and try and get as deep into the game as I can."

Niese is still scheduled to follow Marcum on Sunday, even though he may alter his routine leading up to his start. Niese said he experienced tightness in his lower right leg on Tuesday night after he was struck by a comebacker.

Niese would typically throw a bullpen session todayThursday leading up to his start. But Niese may hold off and throw an abbreviated session tomorrowFriday.

"If he needs an extra day, that's no big deal," manager Terry Collins said. "If he cuts his bullpen back, he's fine." Extra bases

David Wright moved into a tie for the NL lead with his sixth stolen base. He was tied with the Padres' Everth Cabrera, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and the Brewers' Jean Segura . . . Mets hitters began play Wednesday night leading the big leagues with 4.07 pitches per plate appearance.

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