Dillon Gee to start Mets' opener against Nationals

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm •  Published: March 24, 2014
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Dillon Gee will start the New York Mets' opener at home against Washington on March 31.

Mets manager Terry Collins informed Gee of the decision Monday.

"It's a big honor," Gee said. "I'm very thankful for that opportunity, but really I've just got to take it like any other game. It's just one of 30-something starts I hope to get this year, but it's definitely a big honor."

Gee went 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA in 32 starts last year, when he had a 6.34 ERA after eight weeks and almost lost his spot in the rotation. He had a 2.71 ERA during the final four months.

Gee is 1-0 with 1.69 ERA in three exhibition starts with eight strikeouts and no walks.

"I don't think about where I've come from in the last year," Gee said. "I'm just going to keep going forward. That's where I'm at."

Jonathon Niese was expected to be the Mets' opening-day starter for the second straight year, but he has been sidelined by shoulder and elbow injuries. Niese threw off a mound Monday for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot on March 17 and is hoping to be ready by April 6.

"It's kind of by default, too," Gee conceded. "I mean Jon Niese has a few setbacks, he can't make opening day, so I get it. It's a big honor. I've definitely worked my way up. I just try to work hard and go out there and try to win games. To be out there on March 31 will be pretty cool."

MATSUZAKA IMPRESSIVE

Daisuke Matsuzaka, a non-roster invitee trying to make the roster, allowed one run in six innings as the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3.

"Throughout spring training, condition-wise I felt great, but the results weren't exactly what I was hoping them to be," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "Today I went up there knowing this would be my last chance to show what I can do up there."

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