HOUSTON — As of Friday afternoon, Tyler Wade still hadn’t seen a replay of Dustin Fowler’s gruesome injury from the night before — and didn’t plan on seeing one.
“I can’t even watch the video,” he said. “It made me sick to my stomach.”
Same for Dellin Betances.
“I really didn’t want to watch after I saw it once,” he said before Friday night’s game against the Astros. “I was sick to my stomach.”
That phrase got plenty of usage in the early-morning hours Friday in Chicago after Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to the White Sox, a game in which the rightfielder suffered an open rupture of his right patella tendon when he ran into the wall while going all-out in pursuit of a first-inning foul ball.
“One of the worst things I’ve seen on a baseball field,” Brett Gardner said.
Fowler, who was making his major-league debut, had surgery Thursday night in Chicago. Manager Joe Girardi gathered the entire club in the trainer’s room at Minute Maid Park at about 4 p.m. local time Friday to FaceTime with the 22-year-old outfielder.
“I thought it was important that we see him and he saw us,” Girardi said. “I think he was happy. He said he was feeling pretty good. He’s getting out of the hospital today. They had him up and walking around. The rehab’s already started. We expect to see him back in New York when we get back from this trip.”
Girardi said doctors “anticipate the rehab being about six months. So it’s obviously not, probably, as bad as an ACL [tear], but there’s still substantial rehab ahead of him.”
Even as the Yankees began this three-game series against the American League’s top team, thoughts still were very much on Fowler and the almost indescribably bad break he endured. He never even got to experience his first major-league at-bat. He was due to lead off the second inning but never made it to the batter’s box.
“Still very upset about it,” said Girardi, who fought back tears after Thursday night’s game while talking about it. “Sad for him. His parents were flying here today [from Georgia] and they basically scratched their flight, got in the car at 1:30 in the morning and drove up to see him. So all the excitement of your son being called up and then the disappointment that they’re obviously going through . . . but they’re there for him. He’ll get through this.”
The injury struck Wade most of all. He and Fowler were part of the same 2013 draft class — Wade was taken in the fourth round, Fowler in the 18th — and came up through the minors together, even rooming together at several stops along the way.
“I can’t even imagine what went through his head,” said Wade who, like Fowler, is 22. “He’s a great friend of mine, a great teammate, I consider him family, and I’m just praying for him right now.”
Wade said he has no doubt that Fowler, who was having a standout season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the time of his call-up, will rebound “extremely well.”
“He’s a competitor,” Wade said. “He’s going to come back even stronger.”
The Yankees placed five players on the disabled list in six days. The week’s toll:
Sunday Aaron Hicks Oblique
Tuesday Starlin Castro Hamstring
Wednesday Matt Holliday Viral infection
Thursday Tyler Austin Hamstring
Friday Dustin Fowler Ruptured patella tendon