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Gee could have opportunity to seize with Rangers

Right-hander coming back from second shoulder surgery
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Dillon Gee may be just what the Rangers need to get through their pitching challenges.

He has been flying below radar to this point in Spring Training, but that may change in the next three weeks as he gets more opportunity.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Dillon Gee may be just what the Rangers need to get through their pitching challenges.

He has been flying below radar to this point in Spring Training, but that may change in the next three weeks as he gets more opportunity.

Spring Training info

"That's what I have been done my whole career," Gee said. "I'm here to compete for a spot on the team. But the biggest hurdle is proving that I'm healthy. I think I've done. I'm throwing the ball well."

The Rangers are looking to fill two spots in the rotation. They just need players who can take the ball every fifth day, pitch innings and keep the game close.

That's exactly what Gee did for the Mets in 2013, when he was 13-12 with a 3.62 ERA in 32 starts and 199 innings. All that came after having major surgery in '12, when a blood clot was found in an artery in his right shoulder. He underwent surgery to repair a damaged portion of the artery.

This spring he is coming off another shoulder surgery. He had thoracic outlet surgery on Oct. 11 after blood clots were found in his right shoulder and lungs. Gee said he was told the two operations were not related.

"The doctor said I was unlucky," Gee said. "He said both surgeries were once in a lifetime for one pitcher. He said, 'Just consider yourself unlucky to have two.'"

Gee, who was 8-9 with a 4.68 ERA for the Royals last season, spent the down time in winter looking at video. He saw his delivery was a mess.

"I don't know how I got anybody out," Gee said.

Video: NYY@KC: Gee holds Yanks to one run in strong start

His rehab program focused on getting healthy and getting his delivery straightened out. The result has been better command of the sinker, while the curve and changeup have been sharp. He has a 2.25 ERA in two Cactus League outings and he retired six straight hitters against Team Venezuela on Thursday.

"The changeup and curve have been really sharp and that's encouraging," Gee said. "I'm not a gas guy. I keep guys off balance and locate."

Gee's fastball averaged 89.3 mph in '13 and that worked against him in 2014-15, when he was experiencing physical issues. About that same time, the Mets were loading up their rotation with some impressive hard-throwers. Gee was bumped from their rotation for good in '15 by Noah Syndergaard and eventually designated for assignment.

"I was disheartening," Gee said. "I had some good years and I was replaced by a shiny object. But he's a stud. I got stashed in Triple-A and when that happens, people forget about you."

The goal this spring is to make people remember. He is from Cleburne and played at UT-Arlington, so he would love to play for the Rangers. But the ultimate goal is to impress any team with a need for starting pitching.

The Rangers are drifting back to the top of that list.

"This is where I want to be," Gee said. "I'm a Texas guy. But I need to prove I am healthy and pitching well. There are a lot of opportunities out there but I need to re-establish that."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Dillon Gee