Los Angeles Angels right fielder Dexter Fowler suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will undergo season-ending surgery, the team said.
The 35-year-old Fowler was injured when he sprinted to second base in last Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Fowler beat shortstop Bo Bichette’s shot and reached second without sweeping, causing him to hit the pad awkwardly and fall to the floor while complaining of pain.
The Angels initially diagnosed the injury as a sprain, but after an MRI scan, they revealed the damage was more serious and reported that they expect Fowler to need six to nine months to recover from the surgery.
“Comeback season started,” Fowler said. “I have to deal with the card game they gave me and move on.”
The outfielder, who is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, does not believe the injury will end his career.
“I want to keep playing. I still have a lot to give. Now, I just want my knee to be fine again and go out and play, ”he insisted.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said he plans to replace Fowler with Juan Lagares and Jose Rojas, the latter, who currently works as a utility infielder.
In Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays, Rojas started at third base, replacing Anthony Rendon, who is suffering from pain in his left groin from a shot he took on Saturday.
Fowler, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in early February, went 5-for-20 with six strikeouts to start the 2021 season and for the past three years, his line is .218 / .320 / .370, however, Maddon, who coached Fowler in the Chicago Cubs, said he believes the outfielder was beginning to get into offensive rhythm and that his absence will be felt by the team.
“(Dexter) is one of those guys who really makes a difference. It is, ”Maddon noted.
Fowler’s injury creates an immediate vacancy for the Angels’ two most promising players, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, who are currently preparing at the team’s alternate headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, before the start of the minor league season. Adell battled as a rookie last year and Marsh is still not playing above Double-A level after participating in intersquad play for most of the 2020 short season.
Maddon said he will let the Los Angeles minor league development staff decide when Adell and Marsh will be ready to go to the majors.
“It’s hard for me to imagine that they have raised their level (since spring camp) to the point where we could already raise them,” Maddon reiterated.
AP contributed to this report.