Configuring the starting rotation with Kodai Senga in the All-Star Game

SAN DIEGO — When right-hander Kodai Senga was named to the All-Star team as a replacement Saturday, it caught more than the pitcher by surprise — it caught the rest of the team by surprise too.

This means the Mets have a new wrinkle in their post-break pitching plans. With Kodai Senga off to Seattle and the Mets hoping to keep pitching him on extra rest, they’ll need another starter for the first game after the break.

Senga was in line to pitch the first game of the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at home July 14, but if NL manager Rob Thomson decides to have him pitch in the All-Star Game then the Mets will need to alter course. Lucky for the NL team, Senga will be on six days of rest Tuesday, when the game is played at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, which is when he has been his sharpest.

Mets manager Buck Showalter had a call with Thomson prior to Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres to discuss the usage of Senga and first baseman Pete Alonso.

Kodai Senga entering the All-Star game means Buck Showalter will had to do some maneuvering.

“It will be good for [Senga] and it’s good for baseball too,” Showalter said. “Whatever he wants to do. I’m sure they wouldn’t take him if he wasn’t going to [pitch] and we’ll be supportive of that.”

Showalter, who managed the game in 1995 after the Yankees ended the strike-shortened 1994 season in the first place, feels that the All-Star Game is an important initiative to help grow the game globally. While he wants Senga and Alonso to come back to New York for the second half of the 2023 season healthy, he also wants them to enjoy the experience.

“If we have to make some adjustments post-All-Star break then we will,” Showalter said. “We’ll kind of wait and see how everything goes and how [left-hander Jose] Quintana comes out of it today.

Quintana made his final rehab start with an affiliate Saturday afternoon in with Triple-A Syracuse in Worcester, Massachusetts, taking the loss in 4 1/3 innings. He threw 78 pitches, which is right around where the Mets want him to be, but his final line wasn’t great: Five earned runs on four hits, four walks and five strikeouts.

Showalter watched the start with the coaches at Petco Park but did not have a report on how he felt physically at the time of publication. However, he said there have been no setbacks for the veteran lefty as he attempts to work his way back from a March bone graft surgery that was required after doctors found a lesion on his left ribs.

The next, and likely final, step in his return to the Major Leagues is a simulated game next Thursday, July 13. This excludes Quintana from consideration for Senga’s spot against the Dodgers and keeps him on track to make a July 18 return against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field.

Caught watching the paint dry

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Tommy Pham made a highlight-reel throw Friday night to nail Ha-Seong Kim at third base after hitting a double to the left-field corner. The ball kicked off the wall and Pham, who did not appear to be in a hurry to make a play, had the last laugh when he fooled Kim into thinking he wasn’t going to make one. But he threw a strike to Luis Guillorme at third base to get the runner and keep the game tied.

“The kid was trying to do too much,” he said.

Showalter stole a line from the movie Hoosiers to describe the play.

“He got caught watchin’ the paint dry,” the manager said.

A frustrated Kim then kicked a water cooler in the San Diego dugout, jamming his big toe. X-rays were negative for any break, but he was out of the lineup Saturday.

“I take full responsibility of the play I made and then also the mistake I made,” he told reporters after the game. “In the future that’s not going to happen.”

Brett Baty returned to the lineup Saturday after sitting out the last two games with a sore left hamstring. The third baseman was inserted as a defensive replacement Friday night but did not take any at-bats. He tested the leg during batting practice and came through well enough to play.

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