May 31st : The Twins announced that Correa had been placed on the Covid-related injured list. Shortstop Jermaine Palacios was selected on the roster as a substitute player in his place and will make his Major League debut in Game 1 of today’s doubleheader in Detroit. Minnesota also tabbed right Cole Sands as the 27th man for that twin bill, and he will make the first start of his big league career in Game 2 today.
Palacios, 25, was signed by Minnesota out of his native Venezuela as an amateur free agent in 2013. The Twins eventually traded him to the Rays in 2018. Jake Odorizzi trade with Tampa Bay, but Palacios struggled for most of his two-plus years in the Rays organization. After being released in the 2020-21 offseason, Palacios returned to the Twins on a minor league contract and put himself back on the prospect map with a strong performance in 2021. MLB.com currently ranks him 29th among Twins farmhands, while Baseball America ranks him as the best defensive player in the Minnesota system. Palacios hit .259/.340/.439 in Triple-A last year and is off to a .262/.325/.379 start in 2022.
Sands, 24, was the Twins’ fifth-rounder in 2018 and made his MLB debut with a pair of backup exits earlier this season. The Florida State product has had a tough showing in Triple-A so far, albeit in just five starts. He is widely considered one of the Twins’ top 15 prospects, thanks in large part to a 2.46 ERA and 28.7% strikeout rate in 80 1/3 Double-A innings. last year. Sands hasn’t pitched more than five innings in an appearance since April 13, so he could have a relatively short outing today. He threw three scoreless frames in his last Triple-A appearance a week ago.
May 30: Carlos Correa did not play in the Twins’ 7-5 loss to the Tigers today, and after the game the Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters it was learned mid-game that the shortstop had tested positive for COVID-19. Correa will be placed on the COVID-related injury list at some point before the Twins’ doubleheader tomorrow in Detroit.
There have already been quite a few ups and downs in Correa’s first two months with the Twins as he also spent 10 days on the regular IL due to a bruised right middle finger. Correa has also been quite slow at the plate, but he’s now hitting a lot more like usual, with an overall slash line of .279/.344/.407 with three homers in 154 plate appearances. That equates to 122 wRC+/123 OPS+, just slightly below Correa’s career average.
However, Correa is now sidelined for at least 10 days following a positive COVID-19 test. Under league rules, Correa can return early if he goes 24 hours without a fever, tests negative twice, and gets approval from three doctors (the Twins’ team doctor, a doctor appointed by the league and a physician appointed by the MLBPA).
Correa joined Joe Ryan and Gilberto Celestino on Minnesota’s COVID list, a subsection of an overall injured list that is worrisome for the Twins. Once Correa is officially added, he will be Minnesota IL’s 13th player, and the club will also be short of a few other unvaccinated players for a series in Toronto June 3-5.
Former first overall pick Royce Lewis had replaced at shortstop during Correa’s previous stint in IL, but Lewis himself was just placed on the injured list today after sustaining a bone bruise on his right knee after colliding with the wall from center field in yesterday’s game. This leaves the utility Nick Gordon or regular second baseman Jorge Polanco as the most likely candidates to cover shortstop in Correa’s absence, and third baseman Gio Urshela also has experience as a shortstop.