The Mets sent Rafael Montero down to Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday. But he'll be back, and that could spell trouble for Dillon Gee.
Terry Collins announced that Montero, who had been pitching out of the bullpen, will start for Las Vegas and return to the Mets on April 28 to start against the Marlins in Miami.
Gee, the team's struggling fifth starter, is scheduled to pitch the day before. Collins wouldn't say if Gee's rotation spot is in jeopardy, but Gee likely needs to pitch better in his next two outings to hold off Montero.
"I knew you'd read too much into it," Collins told reporters. "Sandy [Alderson] wanted me to tell you we're starting the sucker, so I'm telling you we're starting the guy."
Gee has a 7.59 ERA in two starts. He started spring training in the bullpen, but when Zack Wheeler went down for the year with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, the Mets did not immediately hand his spot to Gee. Some in the organization prefer Montero's upside.
The Mets tried Montero out of the bullpen, but he pitched to a 4.15 ERA and seemed to forget to throw anything but fastballs, including 35 in a row against Atlanta in one outing.
Collins said inserting Montero will give the other five starters an extra day of rest. The Mets then could go back to a five-man rotation. But whether Montero or Gee is the fifth starter when May rolls around remains to be seen.
Infielder Danny Muno, 26, was called up from Las Vegas. The Mets had been carrying eight relievers and four bench players. Muno, an eighth-round pick in 2011, is the first player drafted in the Alderson era to make it to the Mets. The switch hitter was batting .211 for Las Vegas after a hot spring training.
Muno pinch hit for Bartolo Colon in the bottom of the seventh and lined an infield single off Miami pitcher Sam Dyson (literally) for his first major-league hit. Muno also picked up his first stolen base.
Muno said his mother, Anne, who recently had a stroke, flew with her husband from Los Angeles and made it to Citi Field in time for the game.
"She said she's not going to miss this moment," he said.