Mets' Gee Survives Trial By Fire Against Phillies

NEW YORK—A September callup fresh from Triple-A, righthander Dillon Gee faced the Nationals and Pirates in his first two big league starts.

To Gee, both matchups must have seemed like a slight step up from pitching in the International League, what with sparse crowds and rosters filled with players he'd seen while pitching for Buffalo this summer.

It wasn't until Gee, a 21st-round pick from Texas-Arlington in 2007, took the mound at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for start No. 4 that he received his first real taste the big leagues.

After hearing tales of the small ballpark, Gee served up a first-inning, two-run homer to Ryan Howard, bringing 45,000 Phillies fans to their feet.

But the 24-year-old Gee did not allow another run to the powerful Phillies lineup over seven innings. His record after four starts for the Mets: 2-1, 2.00 over 27 innings.

"I was pretty nervous coming into this game," Gee said afteward. "I've never played before a crowd like that. The Phillies are a good team. I was very nervous. I tried to calm myself down, just say it's another game and try to locate my pitches."

"He's very impressive," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "It bodes well for a young pitcher coming into this atmosphere (to) not flinch and pitch well. He has good instincts for a pitcher—pitchability would be the word."

Gee waited nearly two years for the chance. He tore the labrum in his right shoulder in 2009 and made just nine starts for Buffalo.

He skipped surgery, opting instead for rest and rehab, a decision that seemed wise when he led the IL with 165 strikeouts this season while going 13-8, 4.96 in 28 starts.

"I think any game that I throw I just try to take it the same," Gee said, "no matter who I'm facing. Washington, they've got some good hitters, too. It was definitely something different, something I'll have to get used to. But I like it."


• Projected Opening Day first baseman Daniel Murphy will play second base in the Arizona Fall League. He played in just 11 minor league games this season as he worked his way back from multiple knee injuries.

• Buffalo outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis will join Murphy in the AFL. He batted .274/.327/.475 with 18 home runs, doing most of his damage for Double-A Binghamton.