LOS ANGELES — An MRI on Wednesday revealed that Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He will undergo surgery in the next 10 days and miss the remainder of the season.
Toles suffered the injury in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Starting pitcher Julio Urías was working on a no-hitter when the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen hit a fly ball into the left-field corner. Toles said he hyperextended his knee lunging for the ball, which bounced on the warning track and landed in the stands for a ground-rule double.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson said. “He did everything he could to make the play.”
Pederson was the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter Wednesday with a right-handed pitcher, Chad Kuhl, starting for the Pirates. Cody Bellinger took Toles’ spot in left field and will remain there for the short term, Manager Dave Roberts said.
The effect of Toles’ injury reached all the way to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where outfielders Scott Van Slyke and Brett Eibner were called up prior to Wednesday’s game. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez will accelerate his “slow program” and try to return next week from the lingering back and forearm injuries that landed him on the disabled list.
George Lombard, the Dodgers’ outfield coordinator, praised Toles’ rapid ascent as a fielder this season. Toles had one error in 43 chances this season.
“We want to get to where we can trust the outfielder,” Lombard said. “Ball in the air, you trust Joc Pederson in center field. And that’s what Toles was proving this year.”
The injury was a fluke. Toles said he thought about diving for the ball, then realized he was too close to the short left field wall. When he accelerated at the last second, Toles said his leg gave out.
“Seeing him walk off the field, you know something’s wrong,” Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. “He’s a tough dude. Something little’s not going to bring him off the field.”
Since he became the Dodgers’ primary leadoff hitter on April 28, Toles was hitting .368 with a .400 on-base percentage. The Dodgers were 8-2 during that span.
Toles batted .314 in 48 games last year as a rookie after beginning the season at Class-A. He played another 11 games in the postseason and batted .364.
This year, Toles added some power to his game and belted five home runs, one shy of the team lead.
“He really is a big part of what we’re trying to do and adds so much to our club,” Roberts said. “For this unfortunate thing to happen, it’s disappointing.”
After he got the bad news, Toles spoke to his father, Alvin. The elder Toles was a linebacker for parts of four seasons with the New Orleans Saints until a knee injury ultimately ended his career in 1988. Toles said his father told him to “be positive and keep your head up. Keep going.”
The younger Toles got the message.