J.D. Martinez #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on...

J.D. Martinez #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on before Game Three of the Division Series at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Oct. 11, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Getty Images

J.D. Martinez will likely not be ready to join the Mets until after their upcoming West Coast trip, president of baseball operations David Stearns said on Tuesday.

“It’s unlikely on the trip,” Stearns said before the Mets hosted the Pirates. “Certainly, my expectation is shortly thereafter, if not on the trip.”

The Mets’ next homestand begins on April 26.

Martinez is back to swinging the bat at the Mets minor league complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, as he continues to try to get ready after signing on March 23.

Martinez, 36, ended up injuring his back – perhaps because he was rushing to join his new team, Stearns conceded – and got a cortisone shot on April 9.

Stearns said a similar shot helped Martinez heal from a back injury last year with the Dodgers. Martinez played in 113 games and hit 33 home runs for Los Angeles.

“I think J.D. did a very nice job of keeping himself in shape during the [offseason] downtime,” Stearns said. “As he got going, he kind of ran into the same level of back stiffness that plagued him over a couple of different points in his career and was pretty confident that the way the Dodgers treated it last year really helped him throughout the year. And so we've opted to treat it the same way.”


Stearns also said ace Kodai Senga (shoulder strain) probably won’t be ready by the time he’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on May 27.

“Right now, I don’t know,” Stearns said. “I don’t think it’ll be too far after that, but I couldn’t handicap [it].”

The Mets went into Tuesday with an 8-8 record after starting the season 0-5 under first-year manager Carlos Mendoza. Stearns said the steadiness Mendoza showed during the early losing streak is an important reason the club turned it around.

“It's not fun to lose,” Stearns said. “After those games, you walk into the office and none of us is happy. But we all have pretty good perspective here that it's a long season and you can still smile and joke and have fun with each other. I think Mendy’s got the ability to do that.

“I think during those times, it's often the things you don't do. I think during those times, it's being yourself and it's being consistent and it's not deviating. I think Mendy is and was very capable of doing that and demonstrating that.”

Stearns said he is pleased with the Mets’ offense, but acknowledged that is has room to grow, especially once slumping Francisco Lindor gets going.

“I think the group has fit together nicely,” he said. “We've gotten contributions at various points over the first couple of weeks from up and down the lineup, and that's encouraging. We're not just relying on a segment of the group.”

Stearns did concede that the Mets’ defense has been less efficient than he expected. The Mets went into Tuesday 25th in defensive runs saved and had not retired a base stealer in 24 attempts.

Down on the farm, Stearns had positive things to say about Triple-A righthander Christian Scott. The 24-year-old has struck out 19 over nine innings in his first two outings.

“What Christian Scott has done has been great,” Stearns said. “Frankly, it’s what a lot of us expected he was going to be able to do. He's a really talented pitcher. He's feeling good. He's healthy, and so we expected him to go down and have success. What he needs to do is to continue to do that. I certainly have confidence that he's going to be able to do that and that when the opportunity presents itself, he’ll be ready.”

Shea hello

Jack Fisher, who started the first game in Shea Stadium history on April 17, 1964, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on the 60th anniversary on Wednesday. Fisher, 85, appeared with former Mets infielder Ron Hunt, 83, at Citi Field on Tuesday to reminisce about Shea, which was torn down when Citi Field opened in 2009. “It was obviously the newest ballpark that we played in,” Fisher said, “and was just beautiful . . . This was state of the art at the time.”


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