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Mets designate righty Gee for assignment

MLB.com Reporter @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The Mets parted ways on Monday with one of their longest-tenured players, designating Dillon Gee for assignment in a move that could end his time with the organization. The team called right-handed reliever Akeel Morris up from Class A Advanced St. Lucie to replace Gee, who was 0-1 with a 12.54 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance since returning from the disabled list.

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NEW YORK -- The Mets parted ways on Monday with one of their longest-tenured players, designating Dillon Gee for assignment in a move that could end his time with the organization. The team called right-handed reliever Akeel Morris up from Class A Advanced St. Lucie to replace Gee, who was 0-1 with a 12.54 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance since returning from the disabled list.

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The move paves the way for the Mets to call up top pitching prospect Steven Matz from the Minors, likely within the next month.

"It's very difficult because I've been with Dillon since I came to the Mets in the Minor Leagues, and watched him develop, and watched him fight through injuries, and come back, and compete, and compete, and compete, and put up good numbers," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "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."

A 21st-round Draft pick who overcame multiple arm issues in the Minors to debut in 2010, Gee went 40-34 with a 3.91 ERA from that point through last season. During one brilliant stretch in 2013, he ranked among the game's best pitchers, going 10-4 with a 2.57 ERA over 21 starts.

But Gee could never completely avoid injuries, spending long stretches on the DL last summer and this spring. The Mets tried to trade him this winter, before sticking him in the bullpen until Zack Wheeler underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. For the next three months, Gee was never quite certain of his role, bouncing in and out of the Mets' five- and six-man rotations.

"A lot of things made it uncomfortable for him, but the one thing you've got to be able to do here is fight through the adversity," Collins said. "The kind of pitcher Dillon is, he needs a lot of reps to keep him sharp. We just couldn't provide those right now. And so I think it's the best for him to go down and hopefully pitch and get back here."

For now, general manager Sandy Alderson said, the Mets will again look to trade Gee. But Alderson knows there is a strong chance that may not happen, forcing the Mets either to pull Gee back off waivers and option him to the Minors, or outright him there in an attempt to remove him from the 40-man roster.

"I wouldn't say his value has diminished since the winter," Alderson said. "It's possible that a club will express interest. If they do, so be it. If they don't, we still think that Dillon is an asset for us."

Video: Top Prospects: Steven Matz, LHP, MetsWith Gee out of the picture at least temporarily, Matz becomes the most obvious candidate to fill in when the Mets need a sixth starter to limit the workloads of their other five. The team has little remaining incentive to keep Matz, who is 6-4 with a 2.30 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas, down in the Minors now that the cutoff date for Super 2 eligibility has almost certainly passed. But the Mets are still unlikely to debut Matz until early July, preferring to use him during a stretch in which they have a significant number of games without an off-day.

Alderson also has a history of debuting top prospects during road trips, making the club's July 3-8 swing through Los Angeles and San Francisco ripe for a possible Matz promotion.

"We have certain depth and we arrange that depth from time to time," Alderson said. "Some guys move up, some guys move down. Does this represent a move up for Steven Matz? Probably, at the moment. But we don't have any immediate plans."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Dillon Gee