Jeff McNeil could make return to Mets lineup in London finale

LONDON — Jeff McNeil’s exodus from the Mets’ starting lineup is likely to end Sunday. 

With the team set to end a string of four straight games against left-handed starting pitchers, manager Carlos Mendoza indicated Saturday that McNeil will probably be the starter against Taijuan Walker. 

McNeil had little to say before Saturday’s game about his recent exclusions from the lineup other than he will be ready when called upon. 

New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil has sat in recent days. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Reminded that he hasn’t been platooned before, McNeil alluded to Jose Iglesias’ addition to the roster. 

“We’ve also never had a backup second baseman who is a right-handed hitter,” McNeil said before the Mets lost, 7-2, to the Phillies at London Stadium. 

Mendoza said there was nothing to McNeil’s exclusion from the lineup beyond the fact the Mets faced four straight lefties and Iglesias was playing well.

Iglesias went 2-for-4 on this day and owns a .935 OPS since arriving from Triple-A Syracuse on May 31. 

Mendoza downplayed any significance to team brass’ recently telling Brett Baty he should be prepared to see action at second base for Syracuse.

Mendoza said Baty’s inclusion in the second-base mix would only be as an emergency option. 

New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza has been playing Jose Iglesias at second base. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“He’s still a third baseman,” Mendoza said. “We are very pleased with where he is at in his progression defensively. It was just more, instead of having his first game an inning or two at the big league level, maybe we do that in Triple-A just in case something happens if needed here at some point.” 

Mendoza confirmed that Kodai Senga’s timeline is now for the second half of the season, saying it’s safe to assume the right-hander won’t pitch for the team before the All-Star break.

Senga, whose rehab had a setback last month, could throw a bullpen Monday or Tuesday. 

Mendoza said it’s likely Senga won’t be back before the All-Star break. AP

Saturday’s game drew 53,882 at London Stadium — a non-sellout, but an impressive showing by fans nonetheless, according to Harrison Bader.

New York Mets fans during the seventh inning stretch on Saturday. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The stadium’s capacity for baseball is listed at 60,000. 

“I think these games are a lot of fun to play in, but even more so for the fans,” Bader said. “It’s just been a great experience so far.”

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