Felix Jorge pitched five innings, giving up three runs, in winning his major league debut Saturday against Kansas City. He said he wasn’t alone when he took the mound.

Jorge was close friends with Twins prospect Yorman Landa, who was killed in an automobile accident in December in his native Venezuela. Jorge said he thought about Landa as he took the mound Saturday.

“We were good friends, and I know he’s always going to be there with me,” Jorge said. “I know that he’s here. Whether I’m in the minors or the big leagues, he’s always going to be with me.”

Jorge, a righthander, was the 26th man that day, so he had to return to Class AA Chattanooga after the game. But manager Paul Molitor told him to be ready because no one knows when the next chance comes.

“Sure enough,” Molitor said, “it’s six days.”

Jorge will take the rotation spot that belonged to lefthander Hector Santiago, who landed on the 10-day disabled list because of upper thoracic back pain. The Twins optioned righthander Alan Busenitz to Class AAA Rochester to make room for Jorge.


• Friday is the deadline for teams to sign their picks from last month’s first-year player draft. The Twins have three players from their top 20 rounds unsigned: 11th-rounder Gabe Rodriguez, a prep outfielder from Puerto Rico; 16th-rounder Cade Smith, a prep outfielder from British Columbia, and 20th-rounder Tyler Gray, a righthander from Central Arkansas.

• Righthander Hunter Greene, whom the Twins passed on to select shortstop Royce Lewis with the first overall pick, was one of seven first-round picks who remained unsigned as of Thursday. He was taken second overall by Cincinnati.