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Mets’ Kodai Senga avoids his forkball to stay healthy for season

PORT ST. LUCIE — Kodai Senga’s focus is getting to the regular season in optimum health.

With that in mind, the Mets right-hander refrained Wednesday from throwing his signature forkball, a second straight start in which he avoided the pitch.

Senga was scratched from a start this month with tendinitis at the base of his right index finger that the Japanese pitcher attributed to the larger U.S. baseball.

“It’s not like anything is bugging me, but obviously easing it, and I just want to be 100 percent going into this season, so there is no need to rush anything,” Senga said through his interpreter after the Mets’ 5-2 exhibition loss to the Astros at Clover Park.

Senga allowed two earned runs on two hits and three walks over four innings with three strikeouts.

He has pitched to a 4.00 ERA in his three Grapefruit League appearances this spring.

Kodai Senga

“There’s a lot of things to work on, a lot of adjustments to make, but it went OK,” Senga said.

Carlos Carrasco will skip his Thursday start in a minor league game, according to Buck Showalter, for “elbow maintenance.”

The plan now is to keep Carrasco in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, after the team has departed, allowing the right-hander to pitch in a minor league game before his regular-season debut on April 3 against the Brewers.

Showalter wouldn’t elaborate on the elbow maintenance other than to say it’s something Carrasco does on occasion throughout the year.

“Sometimes it’s noticed and sometimes it isn’t noticed,” Showalter said. “But he is fine. … He threw and he felt fine today.”

Brandon Nimmo and Brooks Raley participated in a minor league game and Showalter indicated the hope is both will play in the Grapefruit League this weekend as a precursor to starting the regular season with the team.

Nimmo is recovering from a sprained right knee/ankle he sustained sliding into second base last Friday and Raley has been sidelined since returning from the World Baseball Classic with a strained left hamstring.

The Mets were bussing across the state Wednesday evening for a two-game trip against the Braves and Rays on Florida’s West Cast.

Pete Alonso and Adam Ottavino were expected to join the team for Thursday’s exhibition game against the Braves, with Jeff McNeil in Port St. Lucie to build up his at-bats in minor league games.

All three players are returning from participating in the WBC for Team USA.