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."
Chris Iseman and David Wilson are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.