Sabathia is expected to miss two starts, and the Yankees expect that he will be able to rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break.
He tried to fight the assignment to the DL, which will be his first as a Yankee. The durable ace has not missed a start since 2006.
"I know what he wants to do, but this is what we're going to do," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's a competitor, he wants to be out there, he feels like he can pitch with it right now. But we're not going to mess with it."
Cashman said that an MRI taken on Tuesday revealed the strain in Sabathia's adductor muscle, which occurred during the fourth inning of Sunday's start against the Mets at Citi Field.
"I tried to pitch through it, but that was probably the wrong decision to keep pushing it -- and [I] ended up hurting it some more," Sabathia said.
Sabathia continued to feel discomfort as he threw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, after which he reported the issue to the club's trainers. Sabathia said he was glad he did so instead of pushing through and making Friday's scheduled start against the White Sox.
"Had I went out Friday and made it worse, it probably would have been longer," Sabathia said. "I wanted to go out and pitch Friday, but it's early in the season and I want to be healthy down the stretch. It's best to take the two weeks now."
Sabathia said he won't be able to do much for the rest of the homestand.
"Right now it's just rest for the next couple of days," Sabathia said. "[I'll be] getting treatment, ice, just make sure that I'm feeling pretty good before I go out and play catch."
It was initially believed that Freddy Garcia would take Sabathia's place, but Garcia -- who won 12 games and posted a 3.62 ERA mostly as a starter last year -- pitched in relief against the Indians on Wednesday when Andy Pettitte fractured his left ankle in the fifth inning.
Right-hander Adam Warren will be summoned from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will make his Major League debut on Friday. Garcia is set to pitch on Monday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Sabathia has started at least 33 games in each of his three seasons with the Yankees, and he is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 107 innings this year.
The injury also removes Sabathia from consideration for the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City.
"We've got a lot of confidence that guys will step up," Sabathia said. "I'm sure Freddy will get a chance to start and hopefully step up. We can hold it down until after the break."