Mets’ star pitcher inching his way back from injury

kodai senga, mets
Mar 5, 2023; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

After clinching a 4–3 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, the New York Mets are endeavoring to regain their stride, currently sitting just one game below .500. Positioned third in the National League East, trailing behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the Braves, the Mets are eight games from the top spot.

Despite this gap, the team possesses ample talent capable of climbing the rankings, particularly with the return of their top pitchers, like Kodai Senga, boosting their prospects.

Senga’s Rehabilitation and How Badly the Mets Need Him Back

Senga, who had an impressive 2023 season, is expected to be a pivotal component of the Mets’ starting rotation this year. However, his return to the mound is being cautiously managed.

“He’s very meticulous on how he goes about his business and the way the ball’s coming out of his hand,” Carlos Mendoza said of Senga, via SNY. “I feel he’s still searching for that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has to throw a couple more bullpens before we put in a live BP setting or go down and face real competition in the minor leagues.”

Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) warms-up during workouts at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) warms-up during workouts at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Senga undertook a 32-pitch session against live batters, signaling significant progress in his recovery. Yet, he remains a few weeks away from a potential rehab assignment. Mendoza highlighted the importance of patience in Senga’s recovery process, suggesting flexibility in the schedule to accommodate Senga’s needs.

“This is a guy who knows himself better than anybody and we just got to continue to play it slow and give him the time he needs,” Mendoza said. “If he needs two extra days to throw an extra bullpen, so be it.”

Last season, Senga achieved a 2.98 ERA over 166.1 innings, boasting impressive statistics, including 10.93 strikeouts per nine innings, an 80.3% left-on-base rate, and a 44.7% ground ball rate. His skills are crucial for a Mets team aspiring to contend, and his return could significantly bolster a squad currently struggling for consistency.

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