Los Angeles Angels’ Dexter Fowler out for season with ripped ACL

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Los Angeles Angels starting right fielder Dexter Fowler has a torn left ACL that will require end-of-season surgery, the team announced on Sunday.
Fowler, 35, suffered an injury sprinting to second base during a forced withdrawal attempt in Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Fowler beat Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette’s throw and didn’t slip, prompting him to come up awkwardly and collapse to the ground in pain.

The Angels initially diagnosed Fowler with a sprained left knee, but a follow-up MRI revealed it was much more serious. The team said Fowler is expected to need six to nine months to recover from the surgery.

Angels manager Joe Maddon has said he plans to replace Fowler with Juan Lagares and Jose Rojas, the latter of which is currently a utility infielder. Rojas started at third base on Sunday in place of Anthony Rendon, who was suffering from left groin pain resulting from a pitch on Saturday.

Fowler, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in early February, was 5 for 20 with six strikeouts to start the 2021 season and has hit .218 / .320 / .370 over the past three years. But Maddon, who previously managed Fowler with the Chicago Cubs, said he believes the outfielder is just starting to pitch offensively and will miss his presence on the team.

“He’s one of those glue guys, man,” Maddon said. “He really makes a difference. He does it. You talk about it all the time with the guys at the clubhouse, but this guy really is. “

Fowler’s injury creates an immediate opening for the Angels’ two most promising young players, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, who both train at the team’s alternate venue in Tempe, Ariz, ahead of the start of the minor league season. Adell struggled as a rookie last year, and Marsh is yet to play over Double-A after spending the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season playing mostly intrasquad matches.

Maddon has said he will defer to the Angels’ minor league development staff when Adell and Marsh are ready for the major league.

“I can hardly imagine that they tightened their game [from spring training] to the point where you want to tackle them again, ”Maddon said.

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