Dustin Fowler's long road to recovery comes full circle


Almost an entire year after his MLB debut, A's outfielder Dustin Fowler hopes to finally play a full game.

He'll get that opportunity this weekend, at Yankee Stadium of all places.

Fowler, 23, made his first and only big league start on June 29 of last year in Chicago, as a member of the Yankees. But he didn't get through the first inning.

In the bottom of the first, Fowler chased a José Abreu fly ball into foul territory and collided with the wall, suffering a season-ending patellar tendon rupture in his right knee.

Now, more than 10 months later, Fowler is set to make his second career start, this time facing the Yankees.

“[The recovery] was long and hard, but it was positive reinforcement the whole time,” he said. “It's exciting. I'll be able to see a lot of guys I've been playing with my whole career. It will be nice to play against them. It will be nice to officially get my first full game against them.”

The A's acquired Fowler from the Yankees on July 31, along with fellow prospects Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, in exchange for RHP Sonny Gray, who just happens to be the Yankees' starting pitcher Friday.

“It's a perfect story,” Fowler smiled. “I get to face the guy I got traded for. It will be fun.”

Before getting called up to the big leagues earlier this week, Fowler played 30 games at Triple-A Nashville, hitting .310 with three home runs, seven doubles, three triples, and 16 RBI. He also stole eight bases in 10 attempts.

“The knee has been fine,” Fowler assured reporters. “I haven't had any issues so far. I haven't lost any speed. Everything has been good.”

"We knew he'd be here at some point,” added A's manager Bob Melvin. “We wanted to make sure he was swinging the bat well and got plenty of at-bats. We really liked what he did in center field in spring. You talk about your center fielder of the future, and this is the guy we've targeted for that.”

Fowler will try to collect his first major league hit this weekend in New York, but he says he has one other goal.

“Hopefully I can stay away from walls this go-round.”

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