Mets’ Kodai Senga aiming to return when eligible after successful live BP session

Kodai Senga took another big step on his road to recovery on Monday afternoon.

The Mets' ace right-hander threw around 20 pitches to High-A hitters at Citi Field for the first time since being shut down with a capsule strain in his right shoulder during spring training.

“I feel great,” he said afterwards through a translator. “I’m relieved, everything is progressing well. I was able to check my velo with hitters in there versus just bullpen sessions and I was able to get up to the mid-90s, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

While it remains to be seen how he'll feel tomorrow, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza was also encouraged with how the 30-year-old looked in his first live BP session.

“He was sharp,” the skipper said. “The way the ball was coming out there was no hesitation, he was letting it loose and using all of his pitches, but since he went down the thing I’ve been saying is how will he bounce back, so we’ll see tomorrow.”

Senga is expected to throw two more live BP sessions, the first of which is set to take place this Friday, before heading out to begin a rehab assignment.

If all continues going as planned, the right-hander is hoping to be able to return to the big-league starting rotation right around when he’s first eligible on May 27.

Senga is coming off a spectacular season in which he finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting after pitching to a 2.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 202 batters.

Getting Senga and his signature ghost-forkball back in the mix of things would be huge for the Mets, who haven't received much length from their starting pitchers early on this season.