Kodai Senga of the New York Mets looks on during...

Kodai Senga of the New York Mets looks on during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader at Citi Field on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Finally, Kodai Senga is making real, tangible, meaningful progress toward a return to the majors.

He revealed Tuesday that he is planning to begin a minor-league rehab assignment next week. That would be his first time pitching in an actual game at any level this year after being diagnosed in February with a strained right shoulder.

If the Mets use the full 30 days allowed in those situations or close to it — the most likely scenario, given that he did not pitch at all in spring training as well as how careful they have have been with him — Senga would be on track for an early August season debut.

“It’s hard to say [when I last felt this good],” Senga said through an interpreter. “I feel really good, though, mechanically and physically. Both are necessary in order for me to come back.”

Senga was noticeably more upbeat than he was last month, when first a mechanical issue and then a triceps problem set him back a couple of months.

The reason for the mood shift: Things are going well now. He reported feeling strong before, during and after his live batting practice session over the weekend. He is scheduled for a second and expected final live BP on Thursday.

“Everything feels really good, so I don’t think there will be any hiccups,” Senga said. “I’ll be more excited when I get closer to coming back to the big leagues.”


Diaz’s timeout begins

After MLB banned closer Edwin Diaz 10 games for cheating — for using a prohibited foreign substance on his pitching hand — the Mets did not make him available for an interview Tuesday.

Diaz’s suspension began with the Subway Series opener against the Yankees. He is scheduled to return July 6.

“We want to move on from it,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “We don’t want this cloud to be hanging over the team for too long.”

Mendoza said he would not use any particular reliever as closer in Diaz’s absence. Reed Garrett, Jake Diekman and Drew Smith are among his options in the by-committee approach.

Extra bases

Sean Reid-Foley’s MRI confirmed the Mets’ initial diagnosis: right shoulder impingement, nothing more severe. That registered as good news. They expect him back when eligible (July 5) or shortly thereafter. “We’re good, bro,” Reid-Foley said. “It’s easy. Chilling.” . . . Michael Mays, the son of Willie Mays, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Yankees-Mets on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Mets had a tribute video and moment of silence for the Hall of Famer, who died last week.


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