The real surprise in the rotation is two days and one game ahead. With Victor Zambrano unable to pitch in the season's second game against Washington on Wednesday, the Mets will trot 25-year-old right-hander Brian Bannister to the mound for his Major League debut.
That's quite a turnaround for a pitcher who couldn't even be sure a few weeks ago that he'd be in New York, not reporting to Triple-A Norfolk.
"I just think they were happy with what I came in and did this spring," Bannister said. "I don't know if anybody expected what I could do. I'm just hoping to pitch well and hopefully contribute."
As for Glavine, he admitted to feeling some butterflies in preparation for his start on Monday, but then qualified the comments by saying that he gets that sensation every time he pitches.
"It's the first game of the year," Glavine said. "It's fun for everyone to be out there. It's a great experience. I'm certainly looking forward to it."
The Mets had originally told Feliciano he had made the team, but decided on a last-minute switch to carry Oliver when the severity of Zambrano's left hamstring injury was assessed.
Zambrano will now be pushed back to start Sunday against the Florida Marlins, with Oliver carried in case the Mets should need an innings-eater.
Welcome to the city: The Mets drew more than 13,000 fans to Shea on Sunday to watch the roster go through batting practice drills – more people, one wiseguy remarked, than the team drew to some games last year.
But under sunny skies and an afternoon perfect for baseball (if they'd been scheduled to play), some of the biggest cheers went to Carlos Delgado. The Mets' new cleanup hitter peppered the outfield with line drives all afternoon, including homering around the right-field foul pole and off the right-field scoreboard.
Though Delgado said it would be nice if he could provide a signature moment to mark his arrival at Shea, the cleanup hitter said whatever the experience turns out to be, he plans to soak it up.