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Twins lose starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani for the season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Anthony DeSclafani’s season has come to an end before it even started.

The starting pitcher, who had to be shut down during spring training because of forearm pain, had surgery on Friday in Texas to repair his flexor tendon.

The Twins knew there was a chance he would need surgery when he went to visit Dr. Keith Meister, but a lot of the conversation beforehand, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said, was about whether the issue was the flexor tendon or the ulnar collateral ligament, which would have required Tommy John surgery.

The end result is the same: a surgery that meant the starter will not throw a pitch this season. Falvey said the recovery timeline for this surgery is around 13 months.

“(It’s) an unfortunate outcome for Anthony,” Falvey said.

DeSclafani, who was acquired as part of the trade for Jorge Polanco earlier this year, is a free agent at season’s end, which means he likely will never appear in a game as a Twin.

The Twins have slotted Louie Varland into DeSclafani’s rotation spot and will continue to monitor the market for starting pitching to add some depth to their group, Falvey said.

“I feel guys like Simeon (Woods Richardson) down in Triple-A, and Brent Headrick and others, David Festa, these guys are going to have to find ways to help us in the way that Louie Varland did in the past and Bailey Ober did in the past and others that stepped up,” Falvey said. “I feel like we have a group down there that we’re going to count on, but we’ll always keep an eye open for new options, too.”

Austin Martin gets the call

Austin Martin was sitting on his couch at home in the Twin Cities, relaxing with a coffee before practice when his phone rang on Friday morning. Saints manager Toby Gardenhire was on the other line, asking him how his morning was going.

“He pretty much told me, “Well (are) you ready for your morning to get a whole lot better?’” Martin said.

It was then that he realized what was going on, that he was receiving the call he had waited a lifetime for. The moment, he said, was “surreal.”

It’s the first trip to the majors for Martin, who was called up to replace the injured Royce Lewis on the roster. Martin, the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft, was part of the return from Toronto, along with Woods Richardson, for starter José Berríos.

Manager Rocco Baldelli said he expected Martin to play some left field, center field and second base. He will also be called upon as a pinch runner, as he was on Saturday. Martin entered to run in the seventh inning, played defense for an inning and was pinch hit for by Manuel Margot.

“His ability to bounce around and play good defense in a lot of spots is key. But also on the offensive side, I think he really found his identity again,” Falvey said. “He has kind of gone back and forth as to what he is as a hitter. And you saw late in the season in St. Paul, just the ability to put the bat on the ball, move the ball. … I think now’s the right time for him to give us a boost.”

Briefly

Infielder Brooks Lee, one of the Twins’ top prospects, was not an option to replace Lewis on the roster because he is dealing with a back strain. … Jose Miranda’s defensive focus is at first base now. And though he has played third in the past, Falvey said they didn’t want to press him into action there at the big league level after he had offseason shoulder surgery. … Max Kepler, who fouled a ball off his knee on Thursday, was not in the starting lineup on Saturday, but Falvey said they were hopefully “in a good spot,” with him after a negative X-ray.

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