Mets ace expected to start season on injured list with shoulder injury


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The New York Mets will have to choose a new opening day starter.

Kodai Senga, who impressed in his first MLB season after playing pro in Japan for 11 years, is likely to start the season on the injured list with a shoulder injury, the team announced Thursday.

Senga felt “arm fatigue” Wednesday, which is alarming with pitchers and catchers reporting just last week. The Mets sent him for tests that revealed more than fatigue.

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Kodai Senga throws

The New York Mets’ Kodai Senga pitches during the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers July 15, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The right-hander has a moderate right posterior capsule strain in his throwing shoulder, president of baseball operations David Stearns said.

Stearns said Senga, who became the Mets’ ace last year, will likely miss opening day, “but I do expect him to make a bunch of starts for us this year.

“This is not a surgical-type problem. This is something with rest and treatment — potentially an injection — that can move this forward,” Stearns said in Port St. Lucie, via SNY.

“At this point, I’m not gonna be able to perform at the highest level,” Senga said through the team’s interpreter on Thursday. “So giving it a little bit of time is the right move.

“If we can treat it now, we can get over this hump quick.”

Kodai Senga pitches

Kodai Senga of the New York Mets delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the second inning of a game at loanDepot Park April 2, 2023, in Miami, Fla. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

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The Mets are mixing and matching their rotation this year with Luis Severino, Jose Quintana, Sean Manaea and Adrian Houser. There are still some quality arms on the market, most notably defending NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and postseason hero Jordan Montgomery, but the Mets reportedly are not trying to acquire them.

Mets fans may be disappointed with this offseason considering Steve Cohen’s wallet should fix wounds after last year’s atrocity. But it should be noted that next year’s free agent class is stacked.

Juan Soto headlines it, and the Mets’ Pete Alonso will reach free agency after this season. But Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes, Kyle Hendricks and Shane Bieber are some of the star pitchers expected to test the market, so perhaps the Mets are willing to wait a year to acquire a top arm or two.

But the Mets’ rotation was a question mark to begin with, and they are now dealing with another one.

Kodai Senga reacts

New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga reacts to some difficulty with a PitchCom device during the first inning of the team’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers June 28, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Senga had a 2.98 ERA last season, finishing seventh in the NL Cy Young vote and second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Corbin Carroll.

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