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Splitter felt ‘totally normal’ in final spring outing

New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) throws a warmup pitch before the first inning against the Houston Astros. / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After not using his splitter in earlier spring training starts, Mets pitcher Kodai Senga said he felt “totally normal” after throwing over a dozen on Monday in his final tune-up outing ahead of the regular season.

“I threw a good amount,” Senga said of his splitter, “and they felt good, so a sigh of relief.”

Manager Buck Showalter said Senga, who struck out nine batters over five innings in the Mets’ intrasquad game, threw about fifteen splitters.

“The last outing before the real deal, I thought I had pretty good control on my pitches, and I thought it went pretty well,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

Working with a larger baseball in America, Senga had appeared to avoid throwing his splitter or “ghost fork” due to tendinitis in his right index finger, which caused him to be scratched from one of his scheduled appearances.

Over the weekend, former big leaguer Koji Uehara stopped by Mets camp at Showalter’s request to speak to Senga about making the adjustment to the big leagues and to the new baseball.

“He said it’s no big deal, so I shouldn’t be worried about it,” Senga said on Sunday, via Newsday. “That was reassuring.”

After not using the splitter during one outing, Senga said the decision to avoid the pitch just “happened naturally” as he wanted to work on new pitches.

“The cutter and sweeper-slider are new grips that I developed this past off-season,” he said earlier this spring. “Going into this outing, those are the pitches I wanted to work on.”

In three spring training starts Senga allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits with one homer while striking out 10 and walking five over nine innings.

While he said he was “excited” to face big leaguers in a game that matters in Miami, Senga may be more excited about the trip to Milwaukee, as when asked if he would miss Port St. Lucie he said he was looking forward to “maybe somewhere with a little less sun.”

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