West Laurens' alum Dustin Fowler suffered a torn patellar tendon while chasing a foul ball during the first inning of his Major League Baseball debut with the New York Yankees Thursday night.
Fowler was chasing a foul ball hit by the Chicago White Sox' Jose Abreu down along the first-base line when he crashed into the railing separating the field from the stands.
He immediately tried to walk back to his position in right field but his knee buckled and he sat down. Paramedics then came out and stabilized his knee before carting him off.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi cried when he went out to check on Fowler's injury.
Fowler was due to lead off the top of the second inning for his first Major League at-bat.
The injury was determined to be an open tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. The injury is season-ending. The team announced that Fowler was scheduled to undergo surgery on his right knee last night at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
"It's one of the worst things I've seen on a baseball field," Yankees OF Brett Gardner told USA Today about the injury. "I can't imagine a worse scenario for him. It's heartbreaking."
Girardi felt the injury was tragic and preventable as Fowler's knee struck an exposed electrical box that was knee-high just past the padded fence.
"I'm not blaming the White Sox, but it's something that should have been inspected," Girardi told USA Today. "It needs to be padded or not put there or put lower. It doesn't seem fair that that's what happened."
Sending our thoughts to Dustin Fowler of the @Yankees who left tonight's game following a collision with the right field foul wall.— #VoteWhiteSox (@whitesox) June 30, 2017
"Sending our thoughts to Dustin Fowler of the Yankees who left tonight's game following a collision with the right field foul wall," the tweet read.
Others were thought the injury was tough to watch.
I'm sick to my stomach watching. You can tell how disappointed Dustin Fowler is, and how bad he wanted to just walk that off. Tough kid.— Bronx Bomber Ball (@BronxBomberBall) June 30, 2017
This morning, the Yankees tweeted their well-wishes to the rookie outfielder.
Waking up thinking of Dustin and sending so much 💙 to him. Also want to thank the @whitesox for being so kind during a tough night.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 30, 2017
Fowler was a 2013 graduate of West Laurens High School in Dexter. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB Draft and signed with them instead of going to college.
He was rated as the Yankees' best outfield prospect heading into the 2017 season. At Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the Yankees AAA affiliate, Fowler hit .293/.329/.542 in 70 games with eight triples, 19 doubles, 13 home runs, 43 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.