SAN DIEGO - The Mets' much-publicized experiment with a six-man starting rotation begins Wednesday night when righthander Dillon Gee starts the series finale against the Padres.

"He's ready to go 110 [pitches] if need be," manager Terry Collins said. "I know he's excited to be out there. We're excited to get him back out there."

Gee last pitched May 3 against the Nationals, when he took a 1-0 loss despite allowing only one run in five innings. He was placed on the disabled list May 5 with a groin strain.

But Gee looked good in three rehab starts, positing a 1.62 ERA with Class-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.

Gee (0-2, 3.86 ERA) insisted he was ready to come back after two rehab starts, though the Mets elected to delay his return to avoid starting Matt Harvey on two extra days' rest.

Gee's presence in the rotation is designed to help the Mets keep their young starters within their innings limits for the season -- all while avoiding a prolonged shutdown period.

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Of the 13 players the Mets have sent to the DL since the start of spring training, Gee would be the first to come back. Collins, however, said he does not expect any more additions during the team's seven-game West Coast swing.

Helping the causeBartolo Colon has become the poster boy for the argument to keep the designated hitter out of the National League -- at least in the opinion of commissioner Rob Manfred.

"Not having NL pitchers hit would deprive us of the entertainment Bartolo Colon has given us this year," Manfred told MLB.com.

Wright stuff

@Newsday

In an All-Star balloting update released Tuesday, the injured David Wright is the only Met to rank in the top five of voting for his position. Wright hasn't played since April 14 . . . General manager Sandy Alderson stopped short of saying that the Mets have partial insurance on Wright's contract, though he said "having insurance on players of his caliber is not unusual in the industry."