Fowler was injured Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, coming into second base awkwardly and colliding with Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien as he beat a potential force out — a key early play in the Angels’ eventual 7-1 win.
He was carted off the field but said later that night he hoped he’d only miss a few games. On Saturday, the Angels placed him on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain.
An MRI later Saturday, however, revealed the full extent of Fowler’s injury, which will require six to nine months of recovery time for the 35-year-old outfielder.
“We win the game because of a great baseball play, but we lose him for the season,” manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. “There’s a lot of conflicting thoughts right there. He knows how I feel. I know how he feels. We all do. We’re going to miss him.”
The Angels traded for Fowler this offseason to be their primary right fielder. In his absence, the club’s depth will be tested for the first time all year.
In the short term, Maddon said the Angels would use a combination of Juan Lagares, José Rojas and perhaps Jared Walsh in right field.
Lagares, a right-handed hitter, made the opening day roster as the fourth outfielder after a strong performance in spring training. Rojas, a 28-year-old rookie left-hander, is primarily an infielder but has some minor league experience in the outfield as well. Walsh is the team’s primary first baseman but has also played previously in right, flexibility that could allow the Angels to give more playing time to Albert Pujols at first if they so choose.
Longer-term, however, the Angels may need to dip into the outfield depth at their alternate training site. That’s where utility man Taylor Ward, veteran Scott Schebler and top prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh have begun the season. Another veteran outfielder, Jon Jay, is currently on the Angels’ traveling taxi squad.
“There’s other options that are available to us,” Maddon said. “Just for right now, we’ve chosen to go this route [with Lagares and Rojas], and then we’ll fill it in.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.