Kodai Senga gets injection, shut down for 3-5 days in latest rehab setback for Mets pitcher

NEW YORK (AP) — Kodai Senga is still feeling tightness in his right triceps and it's unclear when he might return to the mound for the New York Mets.

Sidelined all season by a capsule strain in his pitching shoulder, the team's projected No. 1 starter scrapped a scheduled bullpen Friday and was sent for an MRI that showed “a little bit of inflammation of the nerve,” according to manager Carlos Mendoza.

Senga received a cortisone shot and will be shut down for three to five days. When he's cleared to throw again, the right-hander will need to start by playing catch on flat ground before building back up to mound work.

“We've got to wait and let the shot do the work,” Mendoza said.

It's the latest setback in a slow rehabilitation process for Senga, who got injured early in spring training back in February. New York initially hoped he could be back or at least close by now, before it became increasingly apparent the timeline would stretch until at least June.

After progressing through bullpen sessions, Senga faced hitters in batting practice twice — once in late April and again in early May. But he first said he needed more work to shore up his mechanics before beginning a minor league rehab assignment, then reported triceps tightness during the club's recent road trip.

Now he seems even further away from pitching in minor league games — much less the big leagues.

“The good thing is we were able to take a look at him, not only the shoulder today, but the elbow, the whole thing. Just to make sure we’re not missing anything," Mendoza said before Friday night’s series opener against San Francisco.

"Good news, it’s just inflammation, like I said. Getting this shot and hopefully he can get going from here now. So it's one of those that, we knew from the beginning it was going to take time, and here we are dealing with it.”

Senga went 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA in 29 starts for the Mets last year, making the NL All-Star team during his first season in the majors after arriving from Japan. He struck out 202 batters in 166 1/3 innings, finishing runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year and seventh in Cy Young Award voting.

The 31-year-old Senga is in the second season of a $75 million, five-year contract he signed with the Mets after pitching in Japan for 11 seasons.

In other Mets injury news, left-hander David Peterson (left hip surgery) was scheduled to throw about 90 pitches Friday night for Triple-A Syracuse in what could be his final minor league rehab start. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list early next week.

Right-handed reliever Drew Smith (shoulder soreness) is slated to pitch one inning Sunday for High-A Brooklyn.