kodai senga mets
Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga has a lot to adjust to in his first spring training as a big-league hurler. While he’s adjusted to the cuisine quite fine, there’s more to do as he gets acclimated to his surroundings.

If you see the flamethrower blowing up a balloon somewhere, it’s not a one-time thing. It’s part of his daily routine that he probably brought over from Japan.

Senga has two specific reasons why he makes it a point to blow up and deflate balloons. One is to work on his breathing. Here’s what he said about it (all quotes via New York Post):

Just using my lungs and opening up my body and closing it the way I want to.

And while spring training can be fun, it can also get monotonous and kind of boring. Especially for starting pitchers who aren’t getting into games every day. So, he also uses balloons as a time filler (no pun intended):

I like to do it in the car when I’m not really doing anything. [It helps] maintain my body, maintain a good posture.

Well, there you have it, folks. Even when Senga isn’t doing anything related to baseball, he’s finding a way to work on something. That’s what separates good ballplayers from great ones. When you can find a legitimate use for something that’s as meaningless as a balloon, then you’re on another level.

The New York Post story mentioned that former big-league hurler Bronson Arroyo did the same thing. This practice can also aid in lung capacity and work out those ever-so-pesky intercostal muscles.

So, we can hope that with all this balloon blowing, we won’t hear anything about Kodai Senga pulling an intercostal muscle at any point this season.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.