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Sunday start unlikely as Mets' Shaun Marcum visits doctor Thursday

Pitcher Shaun Marcum delivers a pitch during a

Pitcher Shaun Marcum delivers a pitch during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Mets righthander Shaun Marcum is headed back to New York to be examined Thursday by team doctors, one day after complaining of neck discomfort while warming up for a simulated game.

Manager Terry Collins confirmed that Marcum is unlikely to come off the disabled list in time to make his scheduled start on Sunday against the Marlins.

"Obviously, we've got to wait for the doctors to tell us what it is," Collins said. "He has some real discomfort running from his shoulder up through his neck. What that is, where it starts, what's causing it, I think we won't know until he sees the doctor."

Marcum, 31, has been plagued with health issues all spring. He already has received a cortisone shot after being diagnosed with an impingement of his right shoulder. He later complained of pain in his neck, though when the club officially placed him on the disabled list, Marcum was listed with right biceps tendinitis.

Tuesday's simulated game in Port St. Lucie was to be his final tuneup before making his debut on Sunday. Instead, as the Mets await Marcum's diagnosis, lefthander Aaron Laffey most likely will get at least one start.

Laffey, 27, posted a 3.00 ERA in six spring training appearances. In parts of six big- league seasons with the Indians, Yankees, Mariners and Blue Jays, Laffey had a 25-29 lifetime mark with a 4.38 ERA.

Pitchers go simulated

Righthander Frank Francisco threw 20 pitches in an inning of work during a simulated game on Tuesday, the club announced. Veteran lefthander Pedro Feliciano, in the minors to build shoulder strength, also worked an inning in the same game.

New York Sports