WASHINGTON -- "Gee" was a popular name in Spring Training last year, when Dillon Gee so impressed Jerry Manuel that the Mets manager found every opportunity he could to praise him. "Very impressive," was how Manuel liked to describe the young right-hander. "Very, very impressive."

On his manager's recommendation, Gee might have even cracked the rotation that year, if not for the right labrum tear that limited him to nine starts at Triple-A Buffalo.

Doctors recommended rehab rather than surgery, which hindered his progress. But now, Gee is finally ready to make his big league debut, starting Tuesday in place of the injured Johan Santana.

"This has been unbelievable, especially to end [the season] here," Gee said. "The main goal was just to go out this year and prove that I'm healthy again and I can still pitch, and I think I proved that."

Along with right-handed reliever Sean Green, lefty Raul Valdes and outfielder Jesus Feliciano, Gee joined the Mets Tuesday in their latest wave of September callups. At least for one turn through the rotation, though, he will play a more significant role than any of the other three.

Due to the Mets' caution regarding Santana's pectoral strain, Gee will step into the rotation on Tuesday against the Nationals. He finished the Minor League season 13-8 with a 4.96 ERA at Buffalo, setting a franchise record with 165 strikeouts -- despite not possessing classic swing-and-miss ability.

"I don't know how to explain that," said Gee, who walked just 41 batters in 161 1/3 innings.

To make room for Gee on the 40-man roster, the Mets transferred outfielder Jason Bay to the 60-day disabled list. Bay, who is attempting to make a late-September return from post-concussion syndrome, now won't be eligible to return until Sept. 24.

In the meantime, the Mets would like to see if Gee's four-pitch repertoire can work against the National League.

"He's a command guy, with what I saw was a good changeup," Manuel said. "I liked that about him, being able to throw a changeup at any time during the count."

Ollie may play winter ball in hometown

WASHINGTON -- Oliver Perez hasn't thrown much this summer. So he figures he might as well pitch this winter.

Following Monday's game, in which Perez allowed one run and struck out three batters over two innings -- in just his third relief appearance since the start of August -- Perez indicated that he is considering pitching for his hometown of Culiacan, Mexico, this winter in the Mexican League.

Limited by injury and sporadic use out of the bullpen, Perez has thrown just 67 1/3 innings over three levels this season -- two years removed from pitching 194 innings for the Mets in 2008. With one season left on his three-year, $36 million contract, Perez expects to be able to help the Mets once more.

"I have one more year," Perez said. "If I'm here, I'm going to do all the best for my team."

Recovering Reyes takes batting practice

WASHINGTON -- Jose Reyes took batting practice from both sides of the plate Monday for the second straight day, in anticipation of a return sometime this week.

Reyes, who is batting .287 with eight home runs, eight triples and 28 stolen bases in 477 at-bats this season, has missed the Mets' past 10 games with a strained right oblique.

Though a Tuesday return remains unlikely for the shortstop, Reyes has indicated that he would like to return during the Mets' three-game series in Washington.

Green completes journey back to big leagues

WASHINGTON -- When reliever Sean Green landed on the disabled list in April with what he believed was a strained muscle in his right side, he figured it wouldn't be long before he was back with the Mets.

"I was hoping for two weeks," Green said. "It turned into four-and-a-half months."

That side injury in fact turned out to be a stress fracture to the rib, which kept him away from the Mets until his recall Monday morning. Along with a brief stint pitching for Triple-A Buffalo following his rehab, Green spent over five months attempting to work his way back to the Majors.

Now finally back with the big club, Green will look to establish himself as a bullpen candidate for next season. Green, who was included in the three-team trade that brought J.J. Putz to Flushing two winters ago, posted a 4.52 ERA in 79 appearances for the Mets last season. In 17 games at Buffalo -- including a month-long rehab assignment -- this summer, he produced a 4.64 ERA.

"It was a journey," Green said. "I'm just glad to be healthy now."