PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) This wasn't how Dillon Gee wanted to regain a spot in the New York Mets' rotation.
New York's opening-day starter last year, Gee was slated for a bullpen role before Zack Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that likely will sideline him until 2016.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Gee will take Wheeler's spot in the rotation and pitching coach Dan Warthen told Gee to start getting his arm stretched out as a starter.
''It's tough to feel good about being in the rotation under these circumstances,'' Gee said Tuesday. ''I'm a starter again. That's great. But it's tough to happy about that under these circumstances.''
A 28-year-old right-hander, Gee was 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA in 22 starts last year, when he missed almost two months because of strained back muscle. The Mets considered trade options during the offseason but opted to keep him and planned to use a rotation of Matt Harvey, Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese.
''Did I think I was good enough to be a starter? Absolutely I do,'' Gee said. ''But when you have these five guys that are here, it's tough to argue with the decision. It's a good problem to have when we had it, and unfortunately we're in this situation now. I wouldn't say I was surprised - that's a tough rotation to crack. These guys are really good.''
Gee had made only one start this spring training and is 0-0 with a 5.14 ERA in four appearances. He is scheduled to start Thursday against Houston.
''At this point, I was trying to really dig into the bullpen roll,'' Gee said. ''I was trying to really prepare for that, because I thought that was where I was going to end up. Unfortunately for Zack's sake, I'm back in the rotation. I don't know. I hate that this is the way I'm back in there for the foreseeable future. I'm just going to try to get stretched back out and do the best I can as a starter.''
Wheeler was scheduled to fly to New York on Tuesday night and meet the following day with team medical director Dr. David Altchek. Wheeler declined to answer questions from reporters until after he meets with Altchek.