CHICAGO — Dustin Fowler‘s Major League debut ended in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night as the Yankees outfielder sustained an open rupture of the patellar tendon in his right knee after crashing into a wall, requiring immediate surgery, potentially season-ending.
Playing right field against the White Sox, Fowler ran at full speed when Jose Abreu sliced a two-out drive down the right-field line in the bottom of the first inning. The ball landed in the seats, but Fowler violently slammed into a low fence and railing, with the 22-year-old nearly flipping into the crowd.
Fowler hobbled and hopped briefly before attempting to put weight on his right leg, crumpling to the warning track. Yankees manager Joe Girardi covered his eyes at one point as play was halted, with Fowler’s teammates helping him onto the cart.
The Yankees announced that Fowler would have surgery that night at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. White Sox team physician Dr. Charles A. Bush-Joseph will perform the procedure.
Rob Refsnyder replaced Fowler in right field when play resumed. Fowler did not have a chance to bat in his debut, as his No. 6 spot was due up in the order at the top of the next inning.
Fowler was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the afternoon, flying from Syracuse and arriving about 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled start time.
Ranked as the Yankees’ No. 8 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Fowler was batting .293/.329/.542 in 70 games at Triple-A, with 19 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers and 43 RBIs, stealing 13 bases in 18 attempts.
Fowler had played 14 games in right field at Triple-A this season, seeing most of his action in center (40 games). He also played 12 games in left, earning selection to represent the International League in the upcoming Triple-A All-Star Game.