The news on Angels right fielder Dexter Fowler‘s left knee kept getting worse, and on Sunday, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL, which will require season-ending surgery.
Fowler was originally thought to have a contusion after sliding awkwardly into second base in Friday’s win over the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., after which he had to be carted off the field. He was then placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left knee on Saturday, but an MRI exam revealed a torn ACL. His recovery time is six to nine months.
Fowler, 35, was batting .250 with one RBI in seven games before the injury and he is set to be a free agent after the season. He is in the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed with the Cardinals.
“It’s too bad,” manager Joe Maddon. “He was really starting to get going. He’s one of those glue guys. He really makes a difference. We talk all the time about clubhouse guys and he really is one. I watch him work the room every day. We’re going to miss him.”
Fowler, though, took the news in stride, as he’s staying optimistic despite knowing he’ll be out of action until 2022.
“I’m telling everybody that comeback season has commenced,” Fowler said. “At the end of the day, these are the cards that have been dealt. So I have to deal with them and go at it like that. The doctor said I’m going to have a full recovery, so I’m excited to hear that. I want to continue to play and I think I still have a lot left in the tank.”
With Fowler out, the Angels will employ a combination of Juan Lagares, Jared Walsh and José Rojas in right field in the short-term. Lagares is the only true outfielder of that group, so he’s expected to see the most action in there.
“For now, you’ll see Rojas and Lagares out there, and there are different things we can do as we continue to move forward,” Maddon said. “And, of course, we can put Walshy out there and then put Albert [Pujols] at first base. So we have options for today and the near future.”
But the Angels also have plenty of other options at their alternate training site in Tempe, Ariz., including Taylor Ward, Jo Adell, Scott Schebler and prospect Brandon Marsh. Ward is on the 40-man roster and appears to be the most likely player to be recalled in the coming days, especially after reliever Jaime Barria replaced Fowler on the roster on Saturday. The hope is that Adell or Marsh will continue to develop at the alternate training site and could take over in right field later this season.
“We have Minor League guys we like a lot also,” Maddon said. “Long-term, there’s other options. For now, we’ve chosen to go this route, but we’ll fill it in. We just weren’t expecting all this news and so right now, we’re doing it this way.”
Rendon out with minor groin injury
Third baseman Anthony Rendon was held out of the lineup on Sunday after feeling some discomfort in his left groin area after making a throw from third base late in Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. Rojas started at third in Rendon’s place, but the Angels are hopeful Rendon will return to the lineup soon.
“He felt something in his leg a little bit,” Maddon said. “I don’t know if he’ll need more than one day. It happened on a throw last night.”