LOS ANGELES — Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles is handling his latest setback with the positive mindset that got him to the major leagues.
Toles has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will need season-ending surgery. He was on crutches Wednesday and said he expects six-to-seven onths of rehabilitation and a return in time for spring training.
“I want to stay positive,” Toles said. “There’s no sense in being distraught over an injury. In sports, it happens.”
He landed awkwardly while trying to preserve a no-hitter for Julio Urias in the seventh inning Tuesday night, sliding into the left-field wall as a drive by Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen landed for a double. Toles came out of the game.
“I was close to the wall. I was going to dive, but I realized I was going to go right into the wall,” Toles said. “I accelerated at the last second and stopped really quick on the dirt and my leg gave out. … I didn’t hear a pop or anything. How do I put this? It was an awkward hyperextension.”
A MRI on Wednesday confirmed the injury. He will have surgery in about seven-to-10 days.
“His outlook on things is that he’s not too down,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s not too down. I think where most people would be devastated, his outlook on life is pretty simple, which is great. Just with his trek to get to the big leagues and what he’s had to endure and overcome, and to establish himself as a big-league ballplayer for a winning team, says a lot about his character. To not see it through this year, I know his teammates, coaches, we’re all disappointed.”
The 24-year-old Toles won Los Angeles’ left-field job and was hitting 275 with five homers and 15 RBIs, including a .375 average with seven RBIs in his last 11 games.
A son of former NFL player Alvin Toles, Andrew played football in high school until a hernia injury sidelined him. He said that was the worst injury he had before now. He also has dealt with anxiety.
Selected by Tampa Bay on the third round of the 2012 amateur draft, Toles was out of baseball in 2015 and even worked at a grocery store during that time.
The Dodgers signed Toles in September 2015, and he started the next season in Class A. He made his major league debut in July, played all three outfield positions and excelled as a pinch hitter.
Los Angeles had won nine of 11 entering Wednesday, and Toles was a big part of the Dodgers’ success. Asked how his teammates reacted to his news, Toles said: “Disappointment. They don’t want anyone to get hurt, obviously. We’ll keep moving on. We’ve got other dudes who can play, too. It’s no big deal. We should be OK.”
Toles, who turns 25 in two weeks, smiled when talking about how he was performing at the plate.
“I was swinging it pretty good,” he said “Feeling good. Playing pretty good defense. Kind of came to a halt.”
Cody Bellinger started in left field for Wednesday night’s series finale against the Pirates. Bellinger began the night with a .320 average, five homers and 15 RBIs is 13 games, playing first base while Adrian Gonzalez is sidelined with right elbow soreness.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball