New York Yankees rookie outfielder Dustin Fowler — making his Major League Debut Thursday night in Chicago — was carted off the field in the bottom of the first inning after crashing into the wall in right field foul territory, chasing down a fly ball off the bat of White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
The Yankees announced that Fowler suffered an open rupture of his right patella tendon and underwent surgery late Thursday at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He will miss the remainder of the season.
Fowler ran full speed into the railing and appeared to double over into the crowd. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he believes Fowler’s knee hit an electrical box located along the wall. He tried to walk it off but it was immediately clear he could not put any weight on his right leg. Fowler crumbled to the ground, prompting Girardi and the training staff to rush to his attention.
After his right leg was immobilized, teammates helped lift Fowler into the cart, which then took him from the field.
He was due to lead off for the Yankees in the top half of the second inning for what would have been his first career at bat.
Rob Refsnyder replaced Fowler following the injury.
“I’m going to do everything I can to get to a ball, that’s how I play, and I hit the wrong part of the fence, it was just kind of a freak accident that you can’t really do anything about,” Fowler told the New York Post on Friday.
“Everything is as good as it can be right now. The surgery went well. That’s always a plus. I’m just going to take it day to day right now,” Fowler said. “It ruptured but they were able to put it back in place and there wasn’t any other issues so they said it’s going to be a pretty positive recovery. They said I’d be out for about four or five months and then be ready for the spring.’’
According to the Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera, Fowler’s parents were unable to make the game in Chicago — which was delayed close to three hours because of rain — but were set to join the team in Houston on Friday to see their son play.
Prior to the game, Fowler said of the opportunity to play in big leagues, “Just overwhelmed right now. Ready to get comfy here.”
Fowler, 22, was called up to the Yankees on Thursday as first baseman Tyler Austin was sent to the 10-day disabled list. MLBPipeline.com ranks the outfielder as New York’s 8th best prospect. He was hitting a cool .293 with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in AAA prior to his call-up.
He was selected in the 18th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft out of West Laurens High School by the Yankees, quickly progressing through the system and developing into a top-level prospect.
The Yankees have been hampered by injuries in 2017, losing at different times their starting second baseman (Starlin Castro), starting catcher (Gary Sanchez), starting shortstop (Didi Gregorius), closer (Aroldis Chapman), and number two starter (CC Sabathia).
“Everyone told me to remain positive,’’ Fowler told the Post, “work through it and when I get up there make the most of it, just do everything I can to get back to the team.”