Mets notes: Latest on Kodai Senga, Tyrone Taylor gets lead-off nod, Carlos Mendoza’s rest philosophy

Francisco Lindor Mets
Francisco Lindor (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

QUEENS, N.Y. — New York Mets ace Kodai Senga is scheduled to throw his second live batting practice session on Saturday, manager Carlos Mendoza divulged on Wednesday before his club took on the Chicago Cubs. 

Senga faced hitters in a live setting on Monday for the first time since suffering a strained shoulder during spring training that landed him on the injured list. He was transferred to the 60-day IL where the Mets hope he will be able to return shortly after May 27 when he is eligible to be activated.

The 31-year-old right-hander faced 21 batters on Monday and is expected to get “two ups,” on Saturday, per Mendoza. 

Taylor gets look in lead-off spot

Tyrone Taylor Mets
New York Mets’ Tyrone Taylor, right, hits a two-run double in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Patrick Bailey during the fifth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

With Brandon Nimmo getting a scheduled day off on Wednesday, fourth outfielder Tyrone Taylor was given the opportunity to bat lead-off by Mendoza. 

Through New York’s first 29 games of the season Nimmo has batted lead-off in 28 of them — Francisco Lindor the only other  Met to get a start in that spot. But Taylor’s recent run of form made him a logical option for the first-year manager against Cubs southpaw Shota Imanaga.

A career .239 hitter across five years with the Milwaukee Brewers, Taylor was slashing .277/.304/.415 with two home runs, 13 RBI, and two stolen bases in his first 22 games of 2024. 

“He provides so much versatility, not only on the defensive side, but offensively,” Mendoza said. “I feel good with him leading off, hitting fifth, fourth, anywhere in the lineup. I did it in spring training and even though it was a spring training game, there was a reason why we were doing it…

“I’m pretty impressed [with him]. I knew we were getting a pretty good player, but he’s definitely exceeded a lot of our expectations.”

PTO, anyone?

Pete Alonso Harrison Bader Mets
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

While Nimmo got his second day off of the season, Mendoza has still yet to give Lindor or slugging first baseman Pete Alonso a breather across the first 30 games.

They are the only Mets who have appeared in every game this season, which is something Mendoza would like to rectify. However, he is expecting some pushback.

“That’s my goal,” he said when asked about getting the star duo some off days. “I know it’s not going to be easy but we need to be smart about it. I’m sure I’ll have those conversations with them the next couple of days or so. It’s one of those day-to-day, see how guys are responding and how much they’re running the bases, things like that. We just have to be smart.”

Joey Wendle would step in for Lindor while DJ Stewart — not JD Martinez — would assume first-base duties. Granted, this is in a perfect world where Lindor or Alonso would greenlight a day off.

On the flipside, Mendoza admitted that he would “be open,” to the idea of Lindor and Alonso playing all 162 games this season if they approached him with such a request.

“I’m a big believer that players play… but at the same time, we have to be smart about it,” he reiterated. “I’m not afraid to play them but it’s one of those things where there’s going to be a lot of conversation. There’s a mindset… we want to get the best out of every single guy here but at the same time, you have to be smart about it.”

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