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No Kodai Senga for the Mets in the first half as rehab continues to be slow going for ace

LONDON — Kodai Senga will not play for the Mets in the first half of the season.

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the Mets ace’s lengthy injured list stint. The right-hander is playing long toss and the team is optimistic that he will be able to get on a mound next week, but with all of the setbacks he’s encountered, the Mets aren’t ready to commit to a timeframe for a return.

“I wish I could tell you,” manager Carlos Mendoza said Saturday at London Stadium. “It’s going to be day-to-day, especially after he starts throwing bullpens and we see how he’s going to bounce back after those sessions. Then, we continue the progressions. But as of now, it’s still hard to put a timetable.”

Senga was shut down early in spring training with a mild capsular strain in his right shoulder. Initially, he was expected to be out 6-8 weeks. The Mets expected him back around late May when he was eligible to come off the 60-day injured list, but after throwing to hitters for the first time, he didn’t feel comfortable with his mechanics and asked to take a step back in his rehab to work on them.

However, triceps tightness led to another shutdown and more imaging. The 31-year-old received a cortisone shot two weeks ago, his second injection since the shoulder injury. Senga previously received a platelet-rich plasma injection in February.

With the All-Star break a little more than a month away, Mendoza said it’s “fair to say” the Mets will be without their ace through July 18.

Senga is in the second season of a five-year, $75 million contract. The rotation has lacked a punch without him, though the depth has been restored with right-hander Tylor Megill and left-hander David Peterson recently returning from their own IL stints.


Second baseman Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup again for the first game of the London Series, sitting for the fourth straight game. It’s been a long layoff for McNeil, who hasn’t played since June 2. The Mets gave him a breather to work on his swing against the Washington Nationals last week and with them facing a fourth straight left-hander in London (Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Ranger Suarez), the Mets chose to use Jose Iglesias at second base again for the first game of the series.

However, Mendoza said McNeil will play Sunday against right-hander Taijuan Walker. He reaffirmed his belief that McNeil is still the team’s primary second baseman.

“This is not a platoon — we’re facing four lefties and Iglesias is playing well,” Mendoza said. “I want to continue to say Jeff McNeil is our second baseman. There’s a pretty good chance he’ll play tomorrow. So there’s nothing more to it other than four lefties and Iglesias is playing well.”

The Mets will continue to have third baseman Brett Baty take reps at second base and will have him play a couple innings in the middle infield to prepare him in case of an emergency.

“We thought that with him going down to Triple-A it was important to continue to get those reps before games, and hopefully maybe a game or two,” Mendoza said. But he’s still a third baseman. We’re very, very pleased with where he’s at in his progression defensively.”


With the Amazins’ considered the “home” team for the first game of the series, broadway star and Mets fan Matthew Broderick threw out the first pitch. Not one for the spotlight, he shook hands with catcher Tomas Nido and walked off the mound before the PA system had even finished introducing him to fans. … Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen was seen talking with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on the field during batting practice. Cohen also made a pregame appearance at a pregame party with fans. … Brandon Nimmo, a fan of “The Great British Bakeoff” has been trying to use British slang words this week while in London. The outfielder entertained the local media with his use of the term “off you pop” during his pregame media availability.


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