ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mets pitcher Dillon Gee is enjoying this weekend's homecoming. Well, as much as he allows himself.
"I'm here for work and I don't want to get caught up in that stuff," said Gee, New York's starter in Sunday's series finale opposite Rangers lefty Derek Holland.
Gee, 25, is from Cleburne, attended the University of Texas at Arlington and lives in Fort Worth during the offseason. He grew up a Rangers fan. While at UTA, Gee and his teammates worked as parking lot attendants a few times at Rangers Ballpark to raise money for the program.
The National League Rookie of the Year candidate is off to a blistering start after beginning the season in Triple-A, bringing a 7-1 record and 3.21 ERA into his first career "home" start. Gee did fall a win short of being the first Mets pitcher to open a season 8-0 since Dwight Gooden in 1988.
Gee is going to have quite a cheering section with about 40 family and friends filling up a suite at Rangers Ballpark. Though it's a business trip, Gee has squeezed in some fun. Mets PR director Jay Horwitz arranged a meeting with Rangers president Nolan Ryan, a lifelong hero of Gee's.
"That was awesome," Gee said. "I grew up watching him, idolized him growing up, so to be able to meet him and get a ball signed was pretty special."
Gee is getting it done without Ryan's heater. With a fastball that doesn't quite touch 90 mph, the 2007 21st-round pick out of UTA has learned to get batters out by working the ball in and around the zone.
"Location is definitely a key for me," Gee said. "I have an average fastball. I try to have good command with my off speed pitches. Usually I can throw four pitches for a strike when I want to, and all those pitches are about average. I guess you can say I'm an average pitcher, but I try to excel in the intangible area."