WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Any concerns Kodai Senga had in his return to the Grapefruit League were about the rules pertaining to the pitch clock more so than his right index finger.
The Mets right-hander pitched three innings Thursday in a 3-0 loss to the Nationals, in which he allowed one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts, before he departed after throwing 57 pitches.
Senga sought clarification from plate umpire James Jean on when he was allowed to come set on the rubber with a batter in the box against the pitch clock, but otherwise enjoyed a smooth evening.
“I think the last time I talked about the pitch clock and how I need to make adjustments, but that didn’t play a factor this time and I was able to control my pitches pretty well, so I think it went well,” Senga said through his interpreter.
Senga was scratched from his last start because of tendinitis at the base of his right index finger, but said it was “all good” during this latest outing.
“There are different types of treatment and training, just getting used to the ball,” Senga said. “I think it’s just a step to get used to the big leagues and get used to the big-league ball so I am approaching it one step at a time.”
Noticeably absent from Senga’s arsenal was his forkball.
The right-hander instead relied heavily on his fastball, which topped out at 97 mph, and slider.
“The cutter and sweeper slider are new grips that I developed this offseason, so going into this outing those are pitches I wanted to work on,” Senga said. “But it just naturally happened.”
Senga has kept tabs on his native Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
He said watching the Japanese team, which has reached the semifinals of the event, hasn’t left him regretting his decision to stay with the Mets this spring rather than pitch for his homeland.
“It looks very fun and as much as I would like to be there, my job now is to prepare for the Mets and for Opening Day,” Senga said. “That’s my top priority and I just work toward that.”