HOUSTON -- The Yankees held a closed-door meeting before Friday's game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park in which the entire team FaceTimed with rookie outfielder Dustin Fowler from his Chicago hospital bed, just hours removed from having successful surgery on an open rupture of his right patellar tendon.Fowler
HOUSTON -- The Yankees held a closed-door meeting before Friday's game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park in which the entire team FaceTimed with rookie outfielder Dustin Fowler from his Chicago hospital bed, just hours removed from having successful surgery on an open rupture of his right patellar tendon.
Fowler was said to be in good spirits, one day after his Major League debut was cut short in cruelly abrupt fashion when he crashed into a short fence while pursuing a first-inning foul ball in New York's 4-3 loss to the White Sox. The Yankees said that Fowler's rehabilitation should take approximately six months.
"He's getting out of the hospital and we expect to see him in New York when we get back from this trip," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought it was important that we saw him and that he saw us. I think he was happy. He's getting out of the hospital today, which is really good, because that's the last place you want to be."
•Fowler's season ends in 1st inning of debut
Fowler was carted off the playing field and went directly into surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where White Sox team physician Dr. Charles A. Bush-Joseph performed the procedure. Fowler's parents had planned to fly from Caldwell, Ga., to Houston on Friday, but instead they made the 12 1/2-hour drive to Fowler's bedside.
"Everything is as good as it can be right now," Fowler told the New York Post. "The surgery went well. That's always a plus. I'm just going to take it day to day right now. It ruptured, but they were able to put it back in place and there wasn't any other issues, so they said it's going to be a pretty positive recovery. They said I'd be out for about four or five months and then be ready for the spring."
Ranked as the Yankees' No. 8 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Fowler was batting .293/.329/.542 in 70 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with 19 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers and 43 RBIs, stealing 13 bases in 18 attempts.
"I can't even watch the video. It made me sick to my stomach," said Yankees rookie Tyler Wade, who roomed with Fowler in the Minors. "I can't even imagine what was going through his head. He's a great friend of mine and he's a great teammate. I consider him family. I'm just praying for him right now."
Wade said that he expects Fowler to come back stronger from the injury, picking up the opportunity that he missed. Fowler's spot in the batting order was due up in the top of the second inning, and what would have been his first Major League at-bat went instead to Rob Refsnyder.
Fowler is vowing not to become another "Moonlight" Graham, who famously played one inning in the field but did not bat on June 29, 1905, for the New York Giants -- eerily, 112 years to the day of Fowler's debut.
"This is a journey I've gone through my whole life," Fowler said. "Now I've got to work that much harder to get there. Maybe it will be a little more special this go-round."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.