On Wednesday, Dillon Gee will return to the Mets' rotation, marking the beginning of the Six-Man Era for the Mets.

OK, so maybe "era'' is too much. How about experiment?

Either way, the Mets are going to the six-pitcher rotation, primarily to preserve the arms of their three young stars. As manager Terry Collins noted, though, the solution is neither ideal nor necessarily permanent.

"We're going to try it, see how it works, see how effective it is, and if doesn't look like it's going to fly, we're going to change it," he said. "If we look up in the middle of August -- not that we'll even look that far -- but if we need Matt Harvey out there sooner rather than later, by God, he'll be out there on a fifth day."

The concern, as always, has been to preserve Harvey, Jacom deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, ensuring that the Mets don't overwork their top investments and injure the future of the franchise.

Collins has spoken candidly about how much thought went into the decision. He and pitching coach Dan Warthen discussed limiting innings, shutting pitchers down, disabled list stints and the like, he said.

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"There's no perfect scenario," Collins said, noting that the six-man rotation will save each of his pitchers four starts.

If there's an off day, Collins said, a pitcher might even go on a seventh day.

"All I'm trying to do is fight the fatigue and the wear and tear," Collins said. "I've had the greatest doctor in the world -- who created the Tommy John [surgery] -- tell me that no matter how hard you work, no matter what you're going to do, when they're going to break, they're going to break.

"You figure it out. Come tell me, because I'm open to listening. You got another plan? Let me know."