Rea reflects on sharing clubhouse with Senga in Japan

June 27th, 2023

NEW YORK -- Brewers right-hander has nothing but good things to say about Mets righty , who is pitching against Milwaukee on Wednesday night at Citi Field.                 

The two were teammates in 2021 and ‘22 when both played in Japan for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Rea is not surprised that Senga is one of the National League’s top rookie pitchers this year. Senga is 6-5 with a 3.52 ERA this season, with 93 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. The way Senga competes on the mound is what impresses Rea. The day he pitches, according to Rea, Senga is the ace of the team.       

“Every time he goes out on the mound, he is giving it his all,” Rea said. “He obviously has the stuff, with the velocity of his fastball and the splitter. At the end of the year last year, he developed a pretty good slider. I’ve been watching him throw this year, I think he feels really good. He is finally starting to get his groove.”

According to Rea, Senga is the type of pitcher who never gives up when he is on the mound. Senga showed that ability against the Cardinals on June 17, when it looked as though the Mets hurler was in for a short outing at Citi Field after laboring early. But Senga settled down and pitched into the seventh inning. 

“I’m not surprised by that at all,” Rea said. “That goes back to the way they are brought up in Japan -- resiliency. Never giving up, keep fighting, never satisfied. Every day you come to the field, you are trying to get a little bit better. The first couple of innings in a game, that doesn’t faze him at all.”

Rea called Senga a great teammate, who worked hard and wanted to see his teammates be successful on the diamond. Rea and Senga did not hang out off the field, but Senga was known to joke around in the clubhouse.

“He is a really good guy. … He likes to joke around and have a good time. I don’t know if he has shown that side of him [with the Mets yet],”  Rea said. “He likes to joke around, keep things light and relaxed. When he is out on the mound, it’s go time.”