Timelines for J.D. Martinez and Kodai Senga: Mets notes from David Stearns

USATSI 22562305

NEW YORK — Designated hitter J.D. Martinez is unlikely to join the New York Mets on their West Coast trip over the next week, manager Carlos Mendoza said on Tuesday.

Signed late in the spring, Martinez accepted an option to the minors to have more time to get his swing ready for the season. But after two games with Low-A St. Lucie, Martinez experienced general body soreness and tightness in his lower back, eventually receiving a cortisone shot in his back on April 9. He hasn’t returned to game action since.

Martinez received a similar injection with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and believed it helped pave the way for his 33-homer season.

“He was pretty confident 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,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “It made it so that it was something that didn’t really need to be managed (throughout the season).”

Martinez started swinging again over the weekend and aims to get into games for St. Lucie ahead of a major-league return, perhaps when the Mets return home to host the St. Louis Cardinals on April 26.

“I don’t know that he needs to show anything,” Stearns said. “I just think he needs to get in a spot where he says, ‘I’m good to go. I feel good and I’m ready.’”

Without Martinez, the Mets have rotated the DH position among five different players, with DJ Stewart getting the majority of the time there (nine starts in 17 games). It’s worked quite well: New York’s 1.031 OPS from the DH spot was fourth in baseball going into Tuesday night.

The Mets don’t have a set timeline on Kodai Senga’s return to the rotation, either, though Stearns said he expects Senga back not “too far after” he’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on May 27.

Senga threw off the bullpen mound on Tuesday for the first time.

“It probably took us a little longer than originally expected to get him throwing,” said Stearns, “but once he started throwing this is pretty much on schedule.”

The Mets’ rotation has more than held its own without Senga. New York entered Tuesday with the third-best rotation ERA in the National League, and Senga’s fill-ins — Tylor Megill and Jose Buttó — have combined to toss 16 innings while allowing two earned runs and eight hits.

One thing Stearns would like to see improve? The team’s defense.

“That’s an area where we can get better,” Stearns said, “and we will. We’ve probably had a few too many lapses there — more than we would have expected coming into the year. But I do believe we have good defenders on this team, and some of those lapses can get magnified early in the season.”

The Mets have committed 11 errors leading to 15 unearned runs in the first 16 games of the season. According to Baseball Info Solutions’ defensive runs saved, the Mets are tied with the Atlanta Braves for the worst defense in baseball so far, at minus-11 runs. Statcast’s outs above average have the Mets at the second-worst at minus-8 outs, ahead of only the Miami Marlins.

New York has also allowed a league-leading 24 stolen bases without catching a single base-stealer.

“It has been a little bit of a surprise,” Stearns said. “It’s something we talked a lot about during spring training and focused on a lot of spring training. I think that’s an area where we will get better.”

Since the start of spring training, Stearns has emphasized patience with his evaluations. He didn’t want to read too much into spring training results, and he doesn’t want to read too much into the first three weeks of the regular season.

He has suggested a 45-game sample is more indicative of a team’s potential; the Mets play their 45th game (barring postponements) on May 17 in Miami.

“Getting to that point and doing a check-in on where you are as a team in the various elements of your roster is probably a healthy thing to do,” Stearns said. “Clearly, avoiding impulsive and reactionary decisions generally proves beneficial.”

(Top photo of Kodai Senga in spring training: Jim Rassol / USA Today)

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top