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Collins: Syndergaard to take ball first after break

NEW YORK -- The Mets have not yet publicly committed to using a five-man or six-man rotation after the All-Star break, but they have decided one thing: Noah Syndergaard will start the first game out of the break on Friday against the Cardinals, Mets manager Terry Collins reluctantly revealed Sunday.

Syndergaard will be followed by some order of Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese, Collins said.

"I don't know if I want to share it, but we have a pretty good idea who it's going to be," Collins said of the plans, before sharing them.

Last week's injury to Steven Matz threw New York's master six-man plans in flux. The organization is desperately looking for ways to limit the innings of its young pitchers -- Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Matz -- while still utilizing them enough to remain in the playoff picture. The All-Star break ensures that every Mets starter will be well rested by his next outing.

Syndergaard, for example, will face the Cardinals on seven days' rest. When Harvey makes his second-half debut in the following series against the Nationals, it will be on at least nine days' rest.

However, once the schedule starts back up again, the Mets are left with the same catch-22 if they stick with a five-man rotation. The combination of the organization's recent history and general philosophy indicates that they will not. General manager Sandy Alderson said this week the recently demoted Dillon Gee could be considered as a spot starter. Logan Verrett, who impressed out of the bullpen during a six-game cameo, is currently being used as a starter at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for
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