PHI@NYM: Gee fields grounder, gets force at home

CHICAGO -- When right-hander Dillon Gee initially strained his right lat last month, he classified the injury as minor enough that he considered not even skipping a start. That eventually turned into one missed outing, then another, then another.

At this point, Gee is not close to a return. Manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday that Gee hasn't picked up a ball in 10 days and will need multiple weeks to work back into shape once he does.

That means the end of June would be the earliest Gee could return, with a post-All-Star break return also realistic.

"There's a process to recuperating from an injury," Collins said of Gee, who was placed on the DL retroactive to May 11, with the original intention of activating him on May 26. "This is obviously more than we thought it was going to be. When his body tells him he's OK, he'll resume. When that is, I don't know if anybody knows for sure."

Gee's prolonged absence means that Wednesday's starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, should receive an extended opportunity to prove himself in the rotation -- though prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard are lurking in Triple-A Las Vegas should Matsuzaka not thrive in that role. Jacob deGrom, meanwhile, will remain entrenched in the starting five for as long as he is pitching well.

Despite Gee's injury, the Mets have not suffered much of a dropoff in rotation ERA, so they are not overly concerned by their most consistent pitcher's slow recovery.

"I've been very happy," Collins said of his rotation. "I'm very pleased with the way they've all gone about it. All of them, I think they compete against each other a little bit. For sure, they have stepped up. Every guy that has gone out there has done a good job."

Shortstop becoming a shared job for Mets

NYM@PHI: Flores makes a backhanded stop deep at short

CHICAGO -- When shortstop Ruben Tejada began clawing playing time from Wilmer Flores after the latter's promotion last month, the two seemed to be fighting for a job.

In reality, they are sharing it. Tejada was back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Cubs after Flores started the previous two games. When asked if he hoped either Tejada or Flores might win the job outright, manager Terry Collins said, "I hope not."

"I hope they keep swinging the way they're swinging," he added. "[I can] give them a day off, keep them fresh."

Though not a traditional platoon, because both players are right-handed, the arrangement appears to be working for both. Flores hit a grand slam on Monday against the Phillies, finishing with a combined three hits and six RBIs that day and the next. He has also shown a defensive aptitude beyond what many scouts predicted for him.

"He hasn't disappointed," Collins said. "A lot of people … said they didn't think he could play short. He's proved to a lot of people that he can play short. He catches what he gets to, and he's an accurate thrower. I think he's played very well there."

Tejada has hit .294 with an .822 OPS since May 9, the day the Mets called up Flores from the Minors. Collins has said on multiple occasions that he believes Flores' presence has spurred Tejada to become a better player.

Mets DFA Carlyle, recall Brown

NYM@PHI: Carlyle hurls three scoreless relief frames

CHICAGO -- Their bullpen no longer overworked after three consecutive extra-inning games last weekend, the Mets moved back to a five-man bench following Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Cubs. To do so they designated veteran right-hander Buddy Carlyle for assignment and recalled outfielder Andrew Brown from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Pitching in the Majors for the first time in three years, Carlyle gave the Mets four scoreless innings in two appearances. The Mets chose to designate him over Dana Eveland, who is serving as the third left-hander in the bullpen.

Brown was batting .359 with 13 home runs in 36 games for Las Vegas. He appeared in 10 games for the Mets earlier this season.

Worth noting

• The Mets are in the middle of their first series at Wrigley Field without a day game. Wrigley added lights in 1988.