Biggest ovation of Yankees’ next series may go to A’s player
Dustin Fowler can expect a very warm welcome when he steps into Yankee Stadium for Friday night’s A’s-Yankees game.
Fowler made his major league debut last June 29 for the Yankees against the White Sox at Chicago’s Guarantee Rate Field, where he suffered a gruesome injury to his right knee that required season-ending surgery.
The injury happened when the right fielder hit his knee on the wall in foul territory chasing a foul ball. Fowler was carted off the field before getting his first big league at-bat. A little over two months later, the left-handed hitter was part of the package sent to the A’s for Sonny Gray, who will start for the Yankees against his former team Friday night in The Bronx.
“He is my favorite player. He is awesome, a great guy,’’ Aaron Hicks said of the 23-year-old Fowler, whom he got to know during spring training last year. “He is a good player and will do very well. It’s awesome he is back playing. I am a big fan of that kid.’’
Fowler was elevated to the big leagues by the A’s on Wednesday after hitting .310 (39-for-126) with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .817 OPS in 30 games for Triple-A Nashville. In his first big-league at-bat, he pinch-hit and lined out.
Brett Gardner echoed Hicks’ feelings for Fowler, an 18th-round pick of the Yankees in the 2013 draft out of West Laurens High School in Georgia.
“He is a great kid. I never played with him coming up, just spring training and one inning last year,’’ Gardner said. “Everybody has been pulling for him. Everybody in the minor leagues, players and coaches, had nothing but good things to say about him. He is very talented and it is great he made it all the way back.’’
Tyler Austin was a minor league teammate and is looking forward to seeing his friend.
“I texted him this morning and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I am excited to see him,” Austin said before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox. “We developed a good relationship in one and a half years. He is a great player and swinging the bat well at Triple-A. I am happy for him.’’
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