Former Mets starter Dillon Gee is now pitching out of the bullpen for Minnesota as Paul Molitor’s Twins make a push for a Wild Card spot. Gee pitched for the Mets from 2010-15, winning a career-high 13 games in 2011.
The right-hander went 8-9 with the Royals last season, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen.
This season he made four appearances as a Ranger, including one start against Jacob deGrom and the Mets. He’s pitched in 10 games with the Twins since being acquired.
Gee took a few minutes to speak with NY Sports Day before Tuesday’s game.
NYSD: After being a Met for six years and then becoming a hired gun, how has that been?
DG: Yeah, bouncing around, it!: always tough. Especially now that I have a wife and two kids, so it’s been a little bit of a challenge this year to do that but I’ve landed in a great spot and I’m really happy where I am right now. I love Minnesota. I think everything works out. Everything happens for a reason and I just tried to gut it out this year and wait for another opportunity and I got it here in Minnesota, and I couldn’t be happier.
NYSD: Were you almost surprised by how well the team is doing?
DG: No. I mean, obviously I didn’t know a ton about the Twins coming into the season or even really when I first was going to sign here after being DFA’d by the Rangers, but I did my research and saw that they were having a great season. I pitched against them last season, so that helps. I know what they’re capable of. They’re a high-octane offense, they can be. I should say ‘we’ can be, I’m on the team now. I saw them last year. Even whenever they had a rough season last year I saw that these guys can really put it on guys, and saw that they were playing better baseball this year, really wanted to come here, worked out and we’ve been playing consistent baseball ever since I’ve been up, and it’s been fun to watch.
NYSD: Is it trickier pitching in the AL, you don’t get that automatic out in the nine-spot?
DG: Yeah. The AL’s a little tougher place to pitch for sure because of that reason. It just seems like the NL and AL kind of, they just set up their games differently, the lineups and stuff like that. There’s obviously power hitters in both leagues but I just feel like the AL’s a little bit more of an offensive game. And like you said, definitely when a pitcher doesn’t come up and people aren’t pinch-hitting as much, it can be more of a challenge to be a pitcher in the AL. I like my role right now, I like coming out of the bullpen, so we’re just having fun really.
NYSD: Was it tough for you to take being sent to the bullpen when you converted?
DG: No. Actually I felt like I picked it up pretty quick once I knew that was going to be my role, and I just dove into it, and I wanted to learn it. I felt like I picked it up pretty good because I threw well in the pen last year with the Royals, got 15 starts mixed in last year, so I was kind of bouncing around. Here, I think I’ve made three starts, two of them not so good. As of right now, I feel more comfortable almost being in the pen now. I think my stuff is set up pretty good to come out of the pen. I can throw four pitches. You come out of the pen and throw two, three innings and you can command four pitches, I think it just sets up pretty good for my stuff and where I’m at right now.
NYSD: Did it almost surprise you how well you made the transition?
DG: A little bit. I think what’s more surprising is kind of how I recovered. I mean, I’ve always been able to go out and pitch and get four days rest. Just last week I came in and threw an inning, I got a day off, came in and threw two-and-a-third, and still felt pretty good the next day. I felt like my body is actually getting used to the bullpen role.
NYSD: Is it fun playing for a Hall of Famer?
DG: Oh yeah. Yeah. Paul is awesome. And Molly keeps it loose, he’s a pretty quiet guy, he’s a gamer, man. He likes to watch us play hard and he’s been very good because I did bounce around a couple of starts. He’s a big communicator. He’s always been up front with me, and I respect him a lot.
NYSD: Do you look at all the Mets injuries and go ‘hey, you could’ve used me’?
DG: It’s just rough, man. Sometimes it happens in this business and unfortunately for them they had almost everybody in one season get hurt, so it’s tough to see.