Mets' Starling Marte after stealing second base, next to Marlins...

Mets' Starling Marte after stealing second base, next to Marlins second baseman Otto Lopez in second inning on Thursday, June 13, 2024. Credit: AP/Julia Nikhinson

Starling Marte swiped second in the second for the Mets on Friday night, making him the 19th player in major-league history to pick up at least 350 stolen bases and belt at least 150 homers. But he apparently also picked up something else with that steal — more knee discomfort.

Carlos Mendoza’s lineup for Saturday’s game against the Padres at Citi Field didn’t include Marte. The manager did say Marte was available off the bench — although he didn’t play in the Mets’ 5-1 win — and described the situation this way: “Still the knee, something that flared up a little bit [Friday] again.”

He added: “I’m not too concerned . . . I just decided to give him a day.”

The 35-year-old rightfielder was plagued by groin problems each of the previous two seasons. Mendoza said the Mets will “definitely have to monitor” the knee issue.

Marte didn’t come out after feeling it in the series opener. He’s batting .286 with seven homers, 28 RBIs and 12 steals in 12 tries.

“I want to make sure this doesn’t turn into a long-term injury,” Mendoza said. “He was feeling pretty good [Friday]. I think it was just more after the stolen base that he felt something there. And then after the game, I checked with him.

“He wanted to play [Saturday], but it’s one of those where let’s be smart here and don’t try to push it. The reports today [are] he’s feeling a lot better. So that’s a good sign.”

Senga throws

Kodai Senga took another step on his long road back from a right shoulder capsule strain suffered in spring training, participating in his third bullpen session in this phase.

“He was two ups, 30, 35 pitches, threw 15, sat back down, like a two-inning bullpen-type deal,” Mendoza said. “He felt good. So yeah, a good sign. He’ll throw another one the middle of next week, and then hopefully we can move to the next phase, which is facing hitters.”

Alvarez excels defensively

Francisco Alvarez returned Tuesday after missing almost two months with a thumb injury. Mendoza likes what the 22-year-old catcher brings to the team.

“His leadership, his ability to communicate and relate to everyone there from the pitching staff, coaches,” he said. “Obviously, the framing is really good. His arm can shut down running games.

“But I think [it’s] his ability to lead a pitching staff and having the knowledge of when to make adjustments [and] giving guys conviction. For a guy that age, it’s pretty impressive.”

Consider Jose Quintana a fan. “I really missed him a lot,” the lefty said after allowing one run and two hits in six innings to earn Saturday’s victory. “ . . . Great energy. He always brings new things, new ideas. He’s amazing. I think he’s really special. I really love him.”


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