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Mets name Dillon Gee Opening Day starter

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With Jon Niese on the shelf to start the season, the Mets announced Monday that right-hander Dillon Gee will be the team’s Opening Day starter on March 31 at Citi Field.

Gee is slated to face Washington Nationals’ ace Steven Strasburg, and according to a report from the team (March 24), will become the 23rd Mets pitcher and eight homegrown product to get the nod for an Opening Day start.

Niese had been tagged at the team’s Opening Day start, but elbow damage has him starting the 2014 season on the DL. Bartolo Colon, who signed a 2-year, $20 million contract with the Mets this off-season, was another candidate for the start, but he doesn’t have Gee’s history with the organization. Zack Wheeler could have gotten the nod as well, but the Mets likely viewed his limited big league experience as an issue.

While Gee saw his Opening Day start as happening “by default,” he has had an excellent spring, posting a 1.69 ERA and 1-0 record in three starts. He has also had success against the Nationals throughout his career, with a 3.04 ERA in 12 starts.

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