Kathy Willens
June 15, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) Right-hander Dillon Gee has been designated for assignment by the New York Mets after being replaced in the rotation by top prospect Noah Syndergaard during an injury-interrupted season.

Gee was cut Monday, a day after he allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings against Atlanta in a spot start following his demotion to the bullpen.

''It was a hard decision to make, but right now it's all about the team and what we need to do to move forward,'' Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. ''We still think that Dillon is an asset for us and hope he can get himself back on track because he can be helpful to us.''

To fill Gee's spot, the Mets called up 22-year-old right-hander Akeel Morris from Class A St. Lucie. Morris has never pitched above A ball.

The NL East leaders will try to trade Gee or push him through waivers for the purpose of sending him to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 29-year-old Gee is being paid $5.3 million this year, so it might prove difficult to move a pitcher who is 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA.

The pitching-rich Mets have been trying to trade Gee since the offseason but have had only one serious discussion, during baseball's winter meetings, Alderson said.

Gee is 40-37 with a 4.03 ERA for his career. Far from flashy, he was dependable for the Mets - earlier this season, he set a team record by pitching at least five innings in his 51st straight start, the longest active streak in the majors.

Gee made his debut in 2010 and won a career-high 13 games a year later. In 2012 he had surgery to patch an artery in his pitching shoulder and returned later that season.

He returned in June from nearly a month on the disabled list and made one start as the Mets tried out a six-man rotation to help manage the innings of young stars Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard. But Syndergaard earned his place as a starter, and when New York decided to scrap the expanded rotation, Gee was demoted.

Gee is a control pitcher, and needs steady work. He wasn't going to get it at the major league level, manager Terry Collins said.

''He's got to go pitch, and pitch consistently, so he can find his release and find the command of his stuff that makes him so successful,'' Collins said.

Making it less likely Gee would find that consistent spot with the Mets is the impressive season being had by left-handed prospect Steven Matz. In a hitter's ballpark at Las Vegas, Matz has a 2.30 ERA.

Alderson said Matz could be called up soon.

Also, the Mets outrighted Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Las Vegas. The Mets claimed Nieuwenhuis off waivers from the Angels on Saturday, less than a month after cutting the outfielder and trading him to Los Angeles.

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