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Collins: Dice-K, Lannan Are ‘Leading Guys’ For 5th Spot In Mets’ Rotation

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Daisuke Matsuzaka (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Daisuke Matsuzaka (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The first four spots in the Mets’ starting rotation are set in stone.

Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler are sure things. As for the fifth and final spot? That is coming down to a competition in camp.

According to manager Terry Collins, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are the two “leading guys” for that job.

“It’s obvious that when you’re Daisuke Matsuzaka, you come with a track record,” Collins told reporters. “He’s a quality guy, and he knows how to get himself ready. And once in a while if he has a rough outing in spring training, you have to turn your head a little bit. Those (Japanese) guys throw a lot of pitches to get ready for the season.

“And certainly, with what he’s done in the past, you might have to say he and Lannan would probably be the two leading guys right now.”

Dice-K pitched against the Cardinals on Sunday, allowing an earned run on two hits in two innings of work.

“I gave up a run in the first inning today, but my pitches are very good at this point, except for my slider,” Matsuzaka said following his start. “I think that needs a little bit more work.”

On Saturday, Lannan got the start and pitched two scoreless innings, surrendering a hit and striking out three.

Top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero aren’t expected to break camp with the team after spring training, which takes them out of the running for the fifth spot. Jenrry Mejia and Carlos Torres are also in the running for the job.

Matsuzaka, 33, signed with the Mets last August. In seven starts for the Amazin’s he went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA, striking out 33 and walking 16 in 38 2/3 innings. General manager Sandy Alderson re-signed the 2007 World Series champion to a minor-league deal in January.

Lannan, 29, signed a minor-league deal with New York in January. The Long Beach, N.Y., native started 14 games for the Phillies in 2013, going 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA in 74 1/3 innings.

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