STL@NYM: Gee shuts down Cardinals to notch fifth win

NEW YORK -- It's no secret that Dillon Gee is throwing under pressure. He's battling for his spot in the rotation -- a spot that Zack Wheeler could occupy in the coming weeks -- but he's also battled injury.

After the Mets' 5-1 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night, New York manager Terry Collins revealed that Gee is battling tendinitis in his right elbow. It made him one of the few Mets with reason to be grateful for the rain delays -- two in the past week gave him the extra couple days of rest he needed to make the start -- and has made his recent string of successful outings even more impressive.

Still, Collins said the staff will keep a watchful eye on the starting pitcher with lingering concern for his health.

"We all are," Collins said. "Last night, we asked him [about the injury] throughout the game. In the second inning, I think he told me it kind of tightened up again, then loosened up as he went back and warmed up the next inning."

Gee has been battling tendinitis since Spring Training, he said, but everything with the elbow is structurally fine. He saw a doctor earlier in the week, and the extra days off were a satisfactory remedy.

His recent run of success also indicates a return to health. In his first 10 starts, Gee posted a 6.34 ERA, allowed opposing hitters to record a .909 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and pitched into the seventh inning just once.

Some of that can be attributed to bad luck -- opposing hitters batted .370 on balls in play in his first 10 starts -- but he also struck out 26 batters in his last three starts and pitched into the seventh in each game with a 1.29 ERA. His 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball on Wednesday lowered his ERA to 4.84.

But his and Jonathon Niese's bouts with tendinitis, coupled with Wheeler's impending promotion, further exacerbate the potential of a six-man rotation as Gee and Jeremy Hefner have pitched to a stalemate in recent weeks, with one of the two likely headed to the bullpen.

"We may go with a six-man rotation for just a short period of time, so we make sure all these guys have some appropriate rest when we move into the hot months," Collins said. "So we'll have to wait and see in three or four days where he's at, and the weather's going to dictate a lot."

Collins named to NL All-Star coaching staff

Mets fans at Citi getting out All-Star vote

NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has been a coach on the National League All-Star team twice before. Both times were special to the Mets manager. Next month at Citi Field, though, the experience will be even more memorable.

NL manager Bruce Bochy named Collins to his coaching staff, along with former Mets manager and current Nationals manager Davey Johnson. Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez will also serve on Bochy's staff.

For Collins, though, it'll be a chance to be on the All-Star staff in his home ballpark.

This will be the second straight season Collins has served as a coach for the NL. He was on Tony La Russa's staff in last year's All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Collins said he and La Russa are good friends, and they spent all morning together getting ready for the game.

"It's an honor. It's a blast," Collins said. "I had a great time last year."

All four coaches in this year's All-Star Game are connected to the Mets in some way. American League manager Jim Leyland named White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to his staff. Both Ventura and Gibbons played for the Mets, and Gibbons also coached in the club's Minor League system.

Collins was also an NL coach at the 1995 All-Star Game at The Ballpark in Arlington in Texas when he was the manager of the Houston Astros.

On Thursday, Collins said the fact that the game now has some meaning -- with the winning league earning home-field advantage in the World Series -- makes the experience even more significant. Even the time on the field before the game stands out to Collins.

"It's a lot of fun, and getting in there during batting practice and mingling with the greatest of the greats," Collins said. "How can you not like that?"

Especially when it's right here at Citi Field.

"The fact that it's in New York ... it's great, it's special," Collins said. "It's an honor to be a part of that."