Once considered not only one of the top prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, but all of baseball as well, Andrew Toles was released by the Rays in March 2015. He went on to work at a supermarket before making a remarkable climb to the Majors.
Now Toles faces another uphill battle, as an MRI exam confirmed what the Los Angeles Dodgers feared — a torn ACL in his right knee. The 24-year-old is expected to undergo surgery within two weeks. Toles will likely miss the remainder of the season and potential playoff games.
While the injury is devastating in nature, Toles is maintaining a positive outlook, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It’s pretty frustrating. I got off to a good start, but it’s part of sports,” said Toles, who was hitting .375 in his last 11 games. “Got to move on. I want to stay positive. I was swinging good, playing good defense, but it pretty much just came to a halt. No sense in being distraught. It’s not the end of the world. We got other dudes that can play, so it’s no big deal.”
Emerging as a key starter and leadoff hitter this season, Toles batted .271/.314/.458 with three doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in 31 games (19 starts). All of his starts came when the Dodgers faced a right-handed pitcher.
“I’m frustrated for all of us, but mostly for Andrew,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday. “He’s such a great young man, a big part of what we’re trying to do, and he adds so much to our club. For this unfortunate thing to happen, it’s disappointing.”
Roberts went on to marvel at Toles’ demeanor and perspective. “His outlook on things, he’s not too down, he said he’ll be back for Spring Training. Most people would be devastated,” the second-year manager said.
“His outlook on life is pretty simple, which is great. With his trek to the big leagues, what he’s had to endure and overcome, and to establish himself as a big league player on a winning team, says a lot about his character.”
Without Toles, the Dodgers are again placing Cody Bellinger in left field. It may be safe to assume Bellinger will remain with the club even when Adrian Gonzalez is reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.