De Jong, 25, was a 2nd round draft selection of the Blue Jays before seeing time in the Dodgers and Mariners organizations. He joined the Twins via the Zach Duke deal last July, making four starts with Minnesota in 2018, going 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA (4.92 FIP). A rough spring in which he surrendered more runs than innings pitched led to a reassignment to minor league camp, but the Twins are obviously satisfied with the progress he’s made since then.
There was some confusion as to who was getting the call, with various reports from last night suggesting that Zack Littell was being brought up. Littell will remain in Triple-A, however, while De Jong has an opportunity as the Twins’ fifth starter, though someone like Martin Perez could conceivably move from the bullpen to the rotation instead. The Twins have a day off on Monday and another next Thursday following a two-game series with the Mets, so they could conceivably go without a fifth starter until the Blue Jays come to town April 15-18.
Austin, meanwhile, has plenty of pop in his bat, but has yet to consistently get on base in the big leagues. He went 1-4 this season after slashing .230/.287/.480 with 17 home runs in 268 plate appearances between the Twins and Yankees in 2018. Those numbers track with Austin’s career averages as a .232/.291/.469 hitter across a total 371 big-league at-bats. Austin was out of options, so he’ll need to clear waivers before being reassigned.