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Thursday, March 20, 2014
Sources: Gee penciled in for Opening Day

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Dillon Gee appears headed for his first career Opening Day start.

Gee is due to face the Minnesota Twins on Friday in Fort Myers.

Ten days later -- or two full turns of the rotation -- is March 31. That's Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.

Mets insiders acknowledged that is the current plan, but insist it is not cemented yet.

Gee went 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA against the Nats last season.

Overall in 2013, he had career highs in innings (199), starts (32), complete games (two) and strikeouts (142) as well as a career-best 3.62 ERA.

From May 30 through the end of last season, Gee had a 2.71 ERA, which ranked fifth in the NL. It trailed only Jose Fernandez (1.50), Clayton Kershaw (1.91), Zack Greinke (2.35) and Madison Bumgarner (2.57) during that span.

Jonathon Niese originally had been slated to start on Opening Day for a second straight season, but now is expected to open the season on the DL and start Game 6.

Stephen Strasburg is due to start on Opening Day for the Nats, followed by Gio Gonzalez in Game 2 and Jordan Zimmermann in Game 3 of the series.

Very unofficially, after Gee in Game 1, the Mets likely will use Bartolo Colon in Game 2 and Zack Wheeler in Game 3. In that scenario, it should be Daisuke Matsuzaka, Gee and then Niese against the Cincinnati Reds in the second series.

Gee said he has not been informed of the assignment, and suggested it would be "kind of by default," given Niese's injury.

"It's obviously a big honor if you're starting Opening Day," Gee continued. "It's what every starter wants. But it's just one game out of 162."