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Friday, September 17, 2010
Pregame notes: Rotation plans

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced today that the Mets will probably skip injured starter Jenrry Mejia's spot in the rotation during the upcoming road trip to Florida, which will keep the rotation in order. The Mets announced yesterday that the rookie, who was pulled from the third inning of his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, had suffered a rhomboid strain of the right shoulder blade.

When Mejia’s spot eventually comes up in the rotation later in the season, probably two times, the team will most likely look in-house for its spot starter, and that short list includes Raul Valdes, Oliver Perez and Pat Misch.

“When we get there, we’ll probably make a decision at that point as to which direction we will go or who will be the candidates,” Manuel said. “They more likely will be guys that we already have here. It could be Valdes, Misch, or Perez, those are the guys that have historically been starters, so basically it will come out of that group.”

Jon Niese starts tonight’s game against the Braves, and he’s followed by Dillon Gee tomorrow and R. A. Dickey on Sunday. The Mets have an off-day Monday, allowing Manuel to skip Mejia’s spot and start Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday. No Mets starter would be pitching on short rest until Sept. 28 against Milwaukee, which is when the spot starter most likely will be needed. On that basis, a spot starter is projected to be needed in the regular season finale on Oct. 3 against the Nationals.

Manuel also reiterated his plan to continue to start Gee as long as the rookie doesn’t encounter any setbacks such as fatigue or a drop in velocity. They'll try to keep him around 100 pitches per start. Gee has pitched a career-high 174.1 innings this season, and is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA. He said it's important to finish the season and pitch each of his starts as he tries show the team he can pitch 200 innings and go out there every five days. He’s being closely watched.

“Physically I still feel good,” Gee said. “I get tired a little bit quicker out there, I hit a wall, but it seems like every start I have the fatigue and the soreness get out right in time and I feel strong every five days.

“I think there’s a difference between me feeling tired and me feeling hurt. I definitely would say something, and they told me to let them know, if I feel a twinge or any type of pain at all. If I just feel tired, that’s just part of pitching.”