David Stearns Hints at Change in Rotation Strategy After Mets' Ace Returns

Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns hinted at an alteration in the team's rotation strategy once their ace returns after the All-Star break.
Apr 12, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured starting pitcher Kodai Senga watches from the dugout during the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured starting pitcher Kodai Senga watches from the dugout during the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK - The New York Mets will soon have their ace back for the first time all season, and this means their starting rotation strategy will likely change.

According to president of baseball operations David Stearns, the team's "default" stance is to move to a six-man rotation once Japanese right-handed starting pitcher Kodai Senga returns from the injured list.

"I think once Senga is back our default stance would be a six-man (rotation). We may deviate from that occasionally, but once Senga is back I think our default will be a six-man," Stearns said in the Citi Field press conference room following the Mets' move to acquire reliever Phil Maton from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

Senga has been sidelined since late-February when he went down with a shoulder strain in the second week of Spring Training. After trying to ramp things up in his rehab, Senga was forced to shut things down due to a triceps issue in May as well.

However, the 31-year-old just completed his second rehab start on Tuesday evening, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings on 52 pitches for Triple-A Syracuse. He hit 98 mph on the radar gun, which is a promising sign for an important Mets' arm who just got back into live game action last week for the first time since 2023.

The next step for Senga is likely another rehab outing of some form before the Mets have to make a decision on whether he will need a fourth minor league start or not. With the All-Star break beginning on Monday, the expectation is that Senga could rejoin the big-league club at some point shortly thereafter. But Stearns did note that the organization does not yet have a set plan regarding how many more rehab starts Senga will require.

Senga was the runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year last season thanks to a 12-7 record, a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 29 starts for the Mets in 2023. The team has been awaiting his long anticipated return all year, and now it's closer to coming to fruition.


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Pat Ragazzo

PAT RAGAZZO

Pat Ragazzo is the reporter, publisher, site manager and executive editor for the Mets and Yankees websites on Sports Illustrated. Pat was selected as The Top Reporter & Publisher of the Year 2024 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to the industry. He has been seen on several major TV Network stations including: SNY, FOX5, PIX11 and NY1. And can also frequently be heard on ESPN New York FM 98.7 FM and WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM as a guest. You can follow him on Twitter/X: @ragazzoreport. Pat also serves as the Mets insider for the "Allow Me 2 Be Frank" podcast with Frank "The Tank" Fleming of Barstool Sports.