The team hopes Gee, whose DL stint is dated retroactively to May 10, will miss only two starts.
"We're all pretty disappointed today," manager Terry Collins said.
Insisting that he felt no discomfort during his last start against the Phillies, in which Collins pulled him after only 81 pitches, Gee said he began experiencing "soreness that I've never had before" after the outing. He pushed back his bullpen session one day and felt "great" upon finally throwing. But shortly thereafter the soreness returned, growing worse overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
"It just didn't go away," Gee said. "I've pitched through discomfort before, and this was just something I didn't feel comfortable pitching through."
As a result, the Mets decided to err on the side of caution with Gee, who is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA and has been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues over the last calendar year. The Mets recalled deGrom earlier this week with plans to use him out of the bullpen, though they knew there was a chance Gee would be unable to make his start. deGrom will start Thursday against the Yankees and again May 21 against the Dodgers. Gee will be eligible to return May 26 against the Pirates, and the Mets fully expect him to make that start.
An MRI Wednesday revealed nothing more than the lat strain, and Gee will attempt to throw again early next week. In his words, he is suffering from a "more radiating type pain" than anything acute.
Still, despite his hope for a speedy recovery, Gee could not help but feel disappointed. Plagued by injuries throughout his career, Gee pitched 199 innings last season and made it his goal to surpass 200 for the first time this season. That is still possible, though missing two starts makes it more difficult.
The injury also robs the Mets of their most consistent pitcher. Since escaping a demotion to the bullpen last May 30 with a brilliant start in the Subway Series, Gee has gone 13-6 with a 2.72 ERA, the latter mark ranking ninth in baseball over that span. Gee often looks back to last season's Subway Series as a rebirth of sorts.
This Subway Series has not been as rosy.
"Last year at this time, it was a great moment," Gee said. "This year at this time, it's not so great. But I think we're really optimistic. I know I'm optimistic about coming off the DL in time when I'm supposed to, and hopefully it won't be an issue going forward."