Mets’ rotation to make due without Harvey to start season

Ace Matt Harvey is out until at least August.

After waiting six months for baseball to return, Mets fans will be rewarded Monday against the Nationals when they get to watch Opening Day starter … Dillon Gee?

Keeping with the Mets tradition of heartbreaking injuries, ace Matt Harvey is out until at least August while recovering from Tommy John surgery, which certainly puts a damper on the team’s “2014 is our year” campaign.

Even last year’s Opening Day starter — Jonathon Niese — will miss the start due to injury. Niese is expected to return on April 6 when he is first eligible to come off the disabled list, and he will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season during which he went 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.

The good news for Mets fans is that Dillon Gee isn’t all that bad. In fact, Gee logged a team-high 12 wins and 199 innings last season. He also finished second on the team to Harvey with 16 quality starts. While he isn’t an ideal front of the rotation starter, he can be effective for the Mets again this season.

Zack Wheeler enters his first full season in the league with high expectations. Although unlikely to match the ridiculous numbers (2.27 ERA, 191 K in 26 starts) Harvey put up in his first full season, he should still be very good. Control is Wheeler’s main issue, as he walked 45 batters in 100 innings as a rookie. If he can stay in the strike zone, his modest 3.42 ERA from 2013 should improve.

The newest member of the rotation comes in the shape of 260-pound Bartolo Colon, who enjoyed a $20 million payday for his 2013 campaign with the Athletics. The 40-year-old recorded more than 10 wins (18) for the first time since 2005 and his lowest ERA (2.65) since 2002. Temper those expectations, folks. This is the same pitcher who went a combined 14-21 with a 5.21 ERA from 2006-09 and was out of baseball in 2010.

Jenrry Mejia, rather than veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka, was named the fifth starter. Mejia, 24, started five games for the Mets last season, going 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA.

Although the Mets front office is salivating at the idea of having Harvey, Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard in their rotation in the near future, this group will have to do for now.