Mets' Kodai Senga getting close to rehab assignment, to take next step this weekend

Mets ace Kodai Senga is getting tantalizingly close to a rehab assignment, which will be his final step before returning to action.

Senga, who faced hitters on Monday at Citi Field for the first time since suffering his shoulder injury -- throwing about 20 pitches to members of the High-A Brooklyn Cyclones -- will throw another live session on Saturday, manager Carlos Mendoza said on Wednesday.

Senga will have "two ups" during that session, which means he'll pitch one simulated inning, head to the dugout for what would be an ordinary between-innings break, and then came back out for a second simulated inning.

"I feel great," Senga said on Monday after he threw. "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."

If all goes well on Saturday, Senga will throw one more live session before beginning a rehab assignment.

Senga, Mendoza, and president of baseball operations David Stearns all said earlier this week that the expectation is that the right-hander will return from the IL right around when he's first eligible on May 27.

In Senga's absence, the Mets' rotation has been strong for the most part, but -- until recently -- was failing to provide much length.

That changed this past Sunday and Monday, when Jose Quintana and Luis Severino had back-to-back eight-inning performances.

Along with Quintana and Severino, the Mets' starting five right now consists of Sean Manaea, Jose Butto, and Adrian Houser, though Houser's grip on that spot could become tenuous if he continues to struggle.

When Senga returns, the Mets could possibly go to a six-man rotation.

If they do, they could have other starting options who factor in, including Tylor Megill and David Peterson (who are in the midst of rehab assignments) and Christian Scott (who is dominating for Triple-A Syracuse).