New York Mets
Collins cited Gee's success against the Nats (4-2, 2.72 in 2013) as well as his longevity with the club as the reasons for getting the probable nod. Jonathon Niese is expected to open the season on the disabled list.
"He's probably the lead guy because of his success against the Nationals," Collins said about Gee. "And, to be honest, no disrespect to Bartolo [Colon] or anybody else, but this guy has won more games, I think, for us in three years than anybody on the staff. We're kind of leaning that way."
First thing: Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both are on the Mets' three-hour trip to face the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Duda will play first base, in what will be his first Grapefruit League action since March 3. Davis is scheduled to DH.
Collins essentially said the Opening Day starter at first base may be the one who is most ready. "Right now, it's probably who's going to be the healthiest," the manager said.
Collins added that he is concerned for both players, as well as Daniel Murphy (calf), playing a pair of exhibition games on artificial turf in Montreal on the eve of the season. "Not a great scenario when you've got bad legs," Collins said.
Eighth wonder: Collins said he is unsure how often he will bat the pitcher in the No. 8 slot in the order during the season. He plans to try it at least one more time during Grapefruit League play, although not on Saturday with Colon on the mound.
"I think a lot of it will have to do with how many guys are getting on ahead of David [Wright]," Collins said. "If we aren't getting anybody on base ahead of him, we've got to come up with another formula to get guys on, and that could be the formula. If we get to swinging the bats where everybody is red hot, you don't have to worry about it. But if we're scuffling scoring runs and our first two guys aren't getting on, we've got to come up with something else that might ignite us."