CHICAGO — New York Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler had season-ending surgery on his right knee Thursday night following a crash into a wall in the first inning of his major league debut.

The 22-year-old Fowler started in right field in New York’s 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He slammed into the short sidewall near the corner trying to catch Jose Abreu’s foul ball with one out. Fowler calmly tried to stand and walk after hitting the wall, but his right leg buckled twice before he sat down on the warning track and waited for help.

Fowler had an open rupture of the patellar tendon in his right knee, the Yankees said, and had surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Fowler was set to lead off the second inning for his first big league plate appearance.

“When you rupture a patellar tendon, you’re looking at at least six months,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s was really down and probably scared.

“He’s been a pretty healthy player and he plays really hard.”

The training staff attended to Fowler with Girardi and distraught teammates looking on. After speaking briefly with Fowler, a dismayed Girardi leaned back and put both hands on his face, then called for a cart.

“It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen on a baseball field,” left fielder Brett Gardner said. “I just can’t imagine a worse scenario for him.

“It’s heartbreaking. He’s a good kid and a really, really good player with a bright future.”

The rookie had his leg stabilized, was lifted onto a cart and taken off the field. He was replaced by Rob Refsnyder.

Fowler’s injury followed a 2-hour, 50-minute rain delay.

Fowler was called up Thursday after the Yankees put first baseman Tyler Austin on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Fowler hit .293 with 13 homers at 43 RBIs at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was selected to play in the International League All-Star Game.

Fowler was expected to leave the hospital Friday.

Girardi said he spoke to Fowler on Friday, then the entire team crowded into the training room in the visiting clubhouse at Minute Maid Park to FaceTime him.

“As a group we just talked to him,” Girardi said. “He’s getting out of the hospital and we expect to see him in New York when we get back from this trip. I thought it was important that we see him and that he saw us.”

Girardi said Fowler was in good spirits and feeling pretty good. But the manager was still sick about what he believes was an injury that could have been avoided had the entire wall been padded.

“Still very … upset about it, sad for him,” Girardi said. “His parents were flying here today, and they basically scratched their flight and got in the car at 1:30 last night and drove up to see him.

“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, which I think is really important. He’ll get through this.”

CARDINALS: St. Louis promoted General Manager John Mozeliak to president of baseball operations and Michael Girsch to general manager.

Both received contracts through 2020.

BREWERS-ANGELS: Milwaukee traded utility player Nick Franklin to Los Angeles for a player to be named or cash.

Franklin was designated for assignment Tuesday.

The Brewers claimed him off waivers from Tampa Bay in April. Franklin hit .195 in 53 games, mainly as a pinch hitter.