Shaun Marcum throws five scoreless innings, could pitch for Mets Saturday

Shaun Marcum could help a staff that has struggled beyond its first two starting pitchers this season - USA TODAY Sports

After a solid start by Dillon Gee this weekend, the Mets' starting rotation continues to look up, as Shaun Marcum could pitch for the team this weekend against the Phillies.

The non-Harvey-and-Niese portion of the Mets' starting rotation could get a much needed boost, as Shaun Marcum took a big step toward making his 2013 regular season debut. The Mets tweeted that the oft-injured but effective veteran threw 52 pitches in five scoreless extended spring training innings and followed that with a bullpen session. This sets Marcum up to pitch on Saturday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Over the course of his career, Marcum has proven to be a consistently above-average but fragile pitcher, boasting a career ERA+ of 112, but only once topping 200 innings. The Mets signed the righty to a one-year, $4 million contract this winter to add a veteran presence to the rotation but have struggled to find adequate innings in his absence.

As part of the effort to shore up the staff, the team designated Aaron Laffey for assignment on Sunday and recalled "His Name Is" Robert Carson from Triple-A. But whereas that is more of an on-the-margins move, the addition of Marcum could prove significant.

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