Fowler's MRI clean, but OF's return unknown

September 10th, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- A day after crashing into the center-field wall and sustaining a left knee contusion while attempting to make a seventh-inning catch, Cardinals center fielder received a clean MRI scan that showed no structural damage to his knee.

The swelling, however, is significant, and because of that, the Cardinals likely won't have a full diagnosis on the injury or expected timeline for return until at least Tuesday. X-rays also came back negative.

"The next couple days will help us understand kind of what we're dealing with," manager Mike Matheny said.

Fowler ran, leaped and hit the wall with the knee before falling backward. He was down on his back on the warning track as the ball bounced away, and ended up rounding the bases for an inside-the-park home run that gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead. The Cardinals later came back to earn a 4-3 victory on Saturday.

"Any time you see a teammate look like he seriously hurt himself, you hate to see that," third baseman Matt Carpenter said. "It ended up being a big run, but you care more about your teammate than the run at the time."

Matheny expressed relief that Fowler's injury wasn't worse.

"When I saw him laying on the track, I didn't know what had happened," Matheny said. "When he got up, it didn't look good, either."

Fowler was the Cardinals' big free-agent signing in the offseason, signing a five-year deal worth $82 million. But the veteran has been hampered by various maladies this season. He has missed time with an illness, a left hip issue, a stiff back, a strained left wrist, a right heel spur and a strained right shoulder. He's been on the disabled list twice, for the wrist and heel injuries.

Fowler, who is hitting .255 with 15 homers and 55 RBIs, will have to deal with this latest setback as the Cardinals continue to make a push for a playoff spot.