DETROIT – One of the biggest moments in a baseball player's career is when he's first called up to the big leagues. It's a memory many cherish, a childhood dream realized, and players remember exactly where they were, who they were with and what they were doing when they found out the news.

Jermaine Palacios had the distinct privilege of learning he was going to make his MLB debut Tuesday in the midst of some of the sport's finest individuals: the Twins' beat reporters.

Palacios, part of the team's taxi squad at the time, was answering questions before the first game of a doubleheader when bench coach Jayce Tingler tapped him on the shoulder and told him to report to manager Rocco Baldelli's office. He returned a full-fledged major leaguer.

"More excited than nervous," Palacios said of the opportunity. "It feels real."

The 25-year-old shortstop went 0-for-3 in his debut, an 8-2 Twins victory, and got his first big-league hit in Game 2, a 4-0 loss.

He was one of a few Class AAA players who boarded a plane to Michigan instead of a bus to Iowa on Sunday, with the Twins roster depleted because of injuries and COVID-19 cases. The absences will increase Thursday when some unvaccinated players won't be able to enter Canada for a series against Toronto.

Palacios was promoted because Carlos Correa came down with COVID, joining pitcher Joe Ryan and outfielder Gilberto Celestino on the COVID injury list. The Twins can add Palacios to the 40-man roster with an extra spot because of that hardship.

A native Venezuelan, Palacios signed with the Twins in 2013. In 2018 he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi. He became a free agent and signed with the Twins again in 2021, spending that year with Class AA Wichita before moving up to the Saints in 2022. He's batting .262 in 39 games with St. Paul.

Reinforcements arrive

Outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff and outfielder Mark Contreras also returned to the Twins clubhouse on the taxi squad, while reliever Yennier Cano had been with the team since arriving in Detroit.

Kirilloff made the Twins' Opening Day roster but lasted only five games before his right wrist — which he had season-ending surgery on in 2021 — continued to bother him. A cortisone-injection and seven minor league games later, he came back up, only to drop back down after five games.

The 24-year-old said he's just trying to establish a better routine that helps him play through his wrist discomfort.

"I'm still optimistic about the way and the direction that it's going," Kirilloff said. "I don't want to be at the point where I'm saying it's never going to be really good again, it's always going to be just not that great or just OK. I'm still optimistic that it's going to be really good again."

Kirilloff has certain wrist exercises, plus he tapes it for support. But he said there is a possibility he will need another cortisone shot later in the season.

Gray, Winder recovering

Sonny Gray, who left Sunday's start because of a sore right pectoral muscle, played catch out to 90 feet Tuesday and will do that again Wednesday as he hopes to avoid the injured list.

Baldelli said the Twins were prepared to swap Cano for Gray if necessary.

"Time, treatment, telling myself that I'm OK," Gray said of how he's managed the injury so far. "… I'm just really hoping to be able to take another good step in the right direction [Wednesday] and make a decision from there."

Rookie starter Josh Winder, sidelined because of a right shoulder impingement, is tracking to come off the IL next week, Baldelli said.