The Twins placed right-hander Jose De Leon on the 15-day injured list due to a strain in his right flexor muscle. Righty Josh Winder was called up from Triple-A to take De Leon’s spot on the active roster.
De Leon suffered the injury as he was preparing to enter yesterday’s game, a 3-2 Twins loss to the Tigers. The righty was on the mound and throwing warmup pitches when he suddenly grabbed his arm in obvious pain after tossing his final pitch. Speaking with MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park and other reporters afterwards, De Leon said his elbow had swollen and the sharp pain in his right arm felt like an “electric shock.”
There wasn’t any doubt that De Leon would be headed to the 15-day IL, though the full extent of the injury won’t be known until he undergoes an MRI. Flexor strains can vary greatly based on the severity — some pitchers are able to return to action within a few weeks’ time, while others face the worst-case scenario of a Tommy John surgery. De Leon is unfortunately no stranger to such a procedure, as a TJ surgery cost him the entire 2018 season.
That 2018 surgery and some other injuries quite possibly changed the course of De Leon’s entire career, as he had been a top-100 prospect over the previous two seasons while pitching in the Dodgers and Rays farm systems. De Leon has since become a journeyman, pitching for six different organizations over the course of his career. He has tossed 65 1/3 innings over parts of six MLB seasons, and his 17 1/3 frames for the Twins in 2023 marks the second-highest inning total of his big league career.
Minnesota signed De Leon to a minor league deal over the offseason and selected his contract to the active roster in May. He has a 4.67 ERA with respectable strikeout (24.3%) and walk (7.1%) rates, and his 3.67 SIERA is a full run lower than his ERA, indicating that De Leon has been a bit unlucky with his bottom-line results. For now, however, the hope is that De Leon can get some good fortune and avoid another long-term injury setback.