MIAMI -- Dillon Gee's first rehab start could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday. Gee, recovering from a right lat strain since mid-May and who has been working out in Port St. Lucie, Fla., visited the Mets at Marlins Park on Thursday and threw a 50-pitch bullpen before the opener of a four-game set in stormy South Florida.
Gee was feeling good, going as far as to say he could have been pitching in a game. But the right-hander was also quick to note that facing live batters would pose a different challenge, so he won't be skipping a prescribed stint in the Minor Leagues before returning to New York.
Manager Terry Collins said Gee would probably start for the Gulf Coast League Mets.
"It's just about building up innings at this point," Gee said. "Kind of like Spring Training all over again.
What was originally supposed to be a two-week recovery has lasted longer than a month -- but the light at the end of the tunnel is growing clearer. Thursday's bullpen session was the second one Gee has thrown since suffering a setback in his return. He threw 32 pitches on Monday.
"In the past week, I've been letting it go and I've felt great," he said. "Recovering every day. It's all been positive these past couple of weeks."
Gee hasn't pitched since his last start on May 10 against the Phillies. He was pulled after 81 pitches, but he said he didn't begin to feel discomfort until after the game. When he moved back his bullpen session by a day, he felt fine again. Overnight, however, the tightness in his right side worsened gradually.
Gee was placed on the disabled list on May 14, retroactive to May 11, and he was planning to return to the mound as soon as he became eligible. He then threw a bullpen session on May 25 and felt renewed discomfort.
Looking back at his hasty return to the mound, Gee said he did too much too fast and was "kicking myself like crazy. If I wouldn't have done that, I'd probably be back by now."
Gee has been one of the Mets' most consistent pitchers in the last year. Since May 30, 2013, he has gone 13-6 with a 2.72 ERA.
• Outfielder Juan Lagares, who has been on the disabled list since June 2 with an intercostal strain on his right side, has been batting in simulated games all week. He should play in some rehab games soon. Collins said that once Lagares comes out of those, the team plans to move him "fast."
Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.