Mets’ Kodai Senga to start Sunday vs. Blue Jays on normal rest

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Kodai Senga Mets Phillies
New York Mets’ Kodai Senga pitches during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS — Kodai Senga will finally work under a normal MLB rest schedule.

The Mets announced on Friday night that the right-hander will start Sunday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays, making this the first time since making the jump from Japan that he’ll make two starts in five days.

“We’ve been more than cautious with it,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “We thought it was something that he would eventually be able to do, but we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’re two months into the season. I think we’ve been more than cautious with it trying to simulate even five days rest.”

Senga has had at least five full days of rest in between each of his 10 starts this season, which is one more than the usual four days of rest most pitchers in a five-man rotation receive. He had eight days of complete rest between starts from April 26-May 5 and had six between May 17-24.

Kodai Senga Mets
Kodai Senga. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Mets made it a point to find the pockets within their schedule to ensure Senga had more time to acclimate to the workload. Spending 11 years in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, Senga would normally start once a week with just two work days. 

In the majors, that workload is basically doubled.

“You modify the stuff that he does in between [starts],” Showalter said. “We’ve modified his work days, we’ve modified how many pitches he’s thrown. They got clickers every time he cocks his arm. We’ve taken all the steps you could possibly take.”

Kodai Senga Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga celebrates after striking out Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

For more on Kodai Senga and the Mets, visit AMNY.com