'Legitimate concerns' about Marcum

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets have "legitimate concerns" about Shaun Marcum's availability for the season because of a neck issue that arose during Monday's bullpen session, pitching coach Dan Warthen said.

Marcum is only first being examined by medical personnel this morning.

The Mets are now eyeing Game 5 of the season for Marcum -- not Game 2, which had been the original intent.

Another option: using Jonathon Niese twice before Marcum would make his Mets debut in Game 6, April 7 against the Miami Marlins. That would allow the Mets to place Marcum on the DL to start the season and carry an extra reliever for nearly a full week.

Warthen said the current issue with Marcum is different than the shoulder impingement that was treated with a cortisone shot last Tuesday.

"I think everyone has legitimate concerns," Warthen said. "I mean, it's a place where we've never known it to be before. We have to have it examined and find out where we are."

One thing is certain: Marcum will not be pitching Thursday in Grapefruit League play, which had been the intent.

"Unless we have something immaculate come in," Warthen said.

The Mets are internally discussing potentially signing Chris Young, but a team insider portrayed it as not the most likely of scenarios.

Young is familiar and attractive to the organization from a pure pitching standpoint, but the question would be what would happen to him when other starting pitchers are healthy.

Young probably is only in line to command about $2 million in guaranteed money assuming he ends up a free agent in the next day.