Mets' Kodai Senga says first start was 'good experience,' still adjusting to pitch clock
Kodai Senga made his spring training debut for the Mets on Sunday afternoon, as he allowed one run on one hit to go along with two strikeouts and two walks over two innings of work against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Senga spoke to reporters after his outing was complete and said that he "had a lot of fun" on the mound. The righty added that he wasn't nervous ahead of his first spring start, and that overall, it was "a good experience" for him.
"Not really nervous, just more excited to be in a real game," Senga said through a translator.
He added: "It was just a good experience for me, battling the pitch clock a little bit, playing in a new environment was a good experience for me."
The 30-year-old threw 42 pitches with 24 for strikes, and showed off his "ghost fork" pitch by using it to strike out Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker. He went on to discuss the game plan to use all of his pitches, not just his specialty, but added that he used the "ghost fork" about 25 percent of the time when pitching in Japan last year.
"A lot of meetings inside on what pitches to use and what not, but I have a lot of outings left in spring training, so hopefully use a lot of my pitches and adjust," Senga said through a translator.
Senga was asked how he felt working with the pitch clock and said that it took away from his excitement to face a strong St. Louis lineup.
"Obviously a very good lineup they have over there, especially in the three-hole, four-hole, but before I got up there I was very excited to face those guys, but once I was up there my mind was kind of filled with the pitch clock and I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to," Senga said through a translator.
Senga didn't get off to an ideal start, as he walked the first two batters he faced before settling in to the game and noted that he felt like he was rushing his mechanics early on.
"Definitely the amped up energy, I was a little excited, felt like I was floating a little bit, so I think that played a part," Senga said through a translator.
He later added: "Yes, very rushed in the beginning. I thought if I have more time to spare at the end, I can get settled in. But I ended up rushing everything, including my mechanics."
Senga said that he hopes to improve his timing with the pitch clock as he gets more adjusted to the MLB. He added that he stayed around to watch Max Scherzer pitch on Friday to take note of how the future Hall of Famer operates on the mound and uses the pitch clock to his advantage.
"I see five on the pitch clock and I feel very rushed, but in reality five seconds is quite a long time, so just getting used to that," Senga said through a translator.