It didn’t take long for the best day of Dustin Fowler’s baseball career to become the worst. The New York Yankees rookie outfielder, playing in the very first inning of his very first big-league game Thursday night, slammed into the wall beyond the foul line in right field at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field.
He ruptured the right patellar tendon in his right knee, requiring surgery Thursday night and ending his baseball season right then and there. He was helped off the field before he even had his first major-league at-bat.
The incident brought to mind Moonlight Graham, whose baseball legend revolves around never getting an at-bat in the big leagues. If you’ve seen “Field of Dreams,” you know the story, but Graham got called up to the New York Giants in 1905, played half an inning in the field but the on-deck circle was the closest he got to the plate.
Fowler, speaking to the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan on Friday, said that won’t be him. The 22-year-old outfielder is something of a surprise for the 2017 Yankees, as he was drafted in the 18th round in 2013 and wasn’t really on the fast-track to the big leagues before this season. But then he raked in Triple-A and earned a call-up.
Fowler told The Post he’d be back:
“I don’t let a lot of things get to me, so I’ll be able to bounce back,” he said with quiet confidence, “and we got a good group of guys I’ll be able to work with and get me on my feet as quickly as possible.”
The 6-foot, 195-pounder plays hard, that’s his style. A center fielder, he was in right after a long rain delay before the game, but he played right field 14 games in Triple-A.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” said Fowler, who apparently slammed into an unpadded box on the railing. “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.”
It’s hard not to feel for Fowler when you put it all together: A young kid having a better-than-expected season, gets called up to the Yankees and sustains a major injury in the first inning. From thrill to heartbreak in a couple dozen pitches.
Everything considered, Fowler seems to have the best possible outlook on things, telling The Post:
“I’m glad I was there for one day,” he said, “but I’m pretty bummed out I am not going to be there for the rest of the year.”
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