Mets set date for Kodai Senga's first spring training start

Kodai Senga
Kodai Senga / Amir Norman, SNY

Mets right-handed pitcher Kodai Senga, who threw a live bullpen session on Tuesday, will make his first spring training start on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals on the road.

Senga's start will come a day after Justin Verlander makes his spring training debut.

In Senga's first bullpen session of the spring a few weeks ago, his fastball topped out at 96 mph.

He explained afterward that he was still getting used to the slope of the mound, which is steeper than in Japan.

"The biggest difference so far has been the steepness of the mound," Senga said through a translator. "So that will be an adjustment I have to make. ... Just a little bit of drifting and leaking of my front side down the mound, so that's something to look into for the next bullpen session."

In addition to the mound, Senga is getting used to a new baseball (they're smaller in Japan) as he prepares for his first season in the bigs.

"As of right now I don't feel that the ball has any effect on the so-so bullpen," he said after his initial bullpen session. "It's mostly just the steepness of the mound. Perhaps it's the climate that's helping with the tackiness of the ball, but as of right now the ball isn't bothering me at all."