NEW YORK — The Mets are going to use a sixth starter. Just don't call it a six-man rotation.
Dillon Gee is going to make a spot-start for New York on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, pushing the rest of the rotation back a day in an effort to manage the starters' innings this season.
In the middle of a stretch of games on 13 straight days, rookie Noah Syndergaard will instead start Monday against Toronto.
About a month ago, manager Terry Collins said the Mets were going to use a six-man rotation to protect young stars Matt Harvey, NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard. But he recently backed off that designation.
And Collins became testy Friday in discussing how to classify the rotation.
"I didn't like the looks of it. I didn't like the feeling in the clubhouse that was going on, I didn't like the feeling in here (the interview room). I just didn't like it," Collins said of the reaction to the six-man rotation. "So it's not a six-man rotation, it's a five-man rotation, but we're going to slip somebody in because we think maybe a day here is an extra day that will help out."
General manager Sandy Alderson called it a "six-man light, five-man heavy" rotation Thursday.
Gee, who was sent to the bullpen one rough start after returning from a groin injury, will come off the bereavement list to make the start. Collins chose Sunday for the extra starter because Gee has had success against Atlanta — he's 6-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 16 starts against the Braves.
Collins wouldn't commit to using a sixth starter again soon, but he emphasized that the Mets needed to keep a close watch on the innings pitched by the starters. New York does not want to be put in the same position as Washington Nationals in 2012, when they shut down Stephen Strasburg in September because he reached his innings limit. Strasburg could only angrily watch as Washington was eliminated by St. Louis in a five-game NL Division Series.
"How are we going to manage to keep these guys so that in August and September, when we really need them, when it is really crunch time, they're going to be OK?" Collins said.
Also, the Mets placed reliever Erik Goeddel on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained elbow and recalled infielder Danny Muno from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Reliever Bobby Parnell, activated off the disabled list Thursday after coming back from Tommy John surgery, could find himself temporarily in the closer role. Jeurys Familia is on standby, awaiting the birth of his child.