CHICAGO (AP) – New York Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler will have surgery on his right knee Thursday night after being carted off the field following a crash into a wall in the first inning of his major league debut.
The 22-year-old Fowler started in right field against the Chicago White Sox. He slammed into the short sidewall near the corner trying to catch Jose Abreu’s foul ball with one out. Fowler calmly tried to stand and walk after hitting the wall, but his right leg buckled twice before he sat down on the warning track and waited for help.
Fowler has an open rupture of the patellar tendon in his right knee, the Yankees said. He was set to have surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The training staff attended to Fowler with manager Joe Girardi and distraught teammates looking on. After speaking briefly with Fowler, a dismayed Girardi leaned back and put both hands on his face, then called for a cart.
The rookie had his right leg stabilized, was lifted onto a cart and taken off the field. He was replaced by Rob Refsnyder.
Fowler’s injury followed a 2-hour, 50-minute rain delay. He was set to lead off the second inning for his first big league at-bat.
Fowler was called up Thursday after the Yankees put first baseman Tyler Austin on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Fowler hit .293 with 13 homers at 43 RBIs at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was selected to play in the International League All-Star Game.
With Fowler almost certain to be sidelined, the Yankees may once again have to dip into the minor league system for help.
Miguel Andujar, another 22-year-old, made his big league debut Wednesday and had three hits and four RBIs as the designated hitter in a 12-3 win. Andujar was optioned Thursday to Scranton so he can play third base regularly, according to Girardi.
“He had a great day and it’s hard to send him down” Girardi said. “We look at him as an everyday third baseman in the future.”
Austin, brought up Saturday to replace Chris Carter, was put on the 10-day disabled list with what Girardi called a high grade right hamstring strain.
“He’s going to be out awhile,” Girardi said.
Carter, designated for assignment and assigned outright Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was brought back to the big league roster and listed as a bench player. The first baseman hit 41 homers last season for Milwaukee but just eight in 57 games with New York while batting .204 with 70 strikeouts.
CC Sabathia threw a bullpen session and said he is ready to be activated. Girardi wants to wait a couple of days to see how the 6-foot-6 left-hander feels before projecting his return to the rotation.
New York also transferred Greg Bird to the 60-day disabled list and designated outfielder Mason Williams for assignment. Bird went on the DL on May 2.
The Yankees had lost 11 of 15 before Thursday, but still led the AL East by .002 over second-place Boston.
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