Last season Dustin Fowler made his MLB debut in right field for the Yankees. He didn’t even get a chance to bat because early in the game he was gruesomely injured.
After righting himself he tried to take a couple steps but his knee automatically buckled. He was carted off the field in a stretcher. It turns out that the collision with the wall ruptured a tendon in his knee. He was taken to the hospital for immediate surgery. Unfortunately he was not able to return to play for the entire season.
Back in 2018
Last July, Fowler was traded from the Yankees to the Athletics. So for the 2018 season Fowler will be starting fresh in an A’s jersey. After some time in the miner leagues Fowler was recently called up to the Athletics major league team. He got his first at bat against the Astros’ Will Harris.
Fowler let the pitch go for a strike before popping out to the second baseman on pitch number two. It wasn’t the heroic first at bat that Fowler must have imagined but exciting nonetheless.
Facing His Old Team
Fowler, now an Oakland Athletic, will be returning to Yankee Stadium on Friday, May 11, to face his old team and pitcher Sonny Gray. The irony? Fowler was traded for Gray after his injury last year.
For Fowler it’s like coming full circle after his injury. He spent the past year in rehab and then the minors and now he gets a chance at the real thing against his old team; against the player he was traded for, no less. It all seems to be coming together and Fowler himself couldn’t be more excited.
The Road Back
It was a grueling eight months that Fowler spent rehabilitating his knee. So it was a bit of letdown to only be selected for the Athletics’ Triple-A team out of Nashville. But Fowler made the most of it.
For the Triple-A club, Fowler hit three homeruns and had a batting average of .310. He also had 16 RBI’s and eight steals. He did all this in only 30 games before being called up to the majors this week.
Fowler’s Former Teammates on His Return
Left fielder Brett Gardner shared some encouraging words for Fowler, saying that the injury really shook him and other players as well. It’s the kind of the thing that can happen to anyone but is really unexpected. He expressed that it’s good to keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed and it’s good not to take your health, or anything for that matter, for granted.
He went on to say that he believes everything happens for a reason that Fowler is no doubt stronger because of his injury and the process he had to go through in order to get better.
Short stop Didi Gregorius said he was happy to see Fowler back in the big leagues even if he’s now playing for another team. Didi remembers seeing Fowler’s disfigured leg and the image stuck with him. Fowler wasn’t on the Yankees for long but Didi says that the team still supports their teammate from last season.
Hope for Fowler
Fowler had what could be described as the most unfortunate major league debut possible. In his very first inning in the league he was sidelined by a serious injury. He didn’t even get to a chance to come to the plate before he was carted off the field.
But through all the pain and the long months of rehab, Fowler has remained focused and hasn’t lost heart. He worked hard in Triple-A and showed his coaches that he was ready to play at the highest level again. Teammates and fans alike wish him the best on his heroic return to baseball.