Mike Trout has been out of action for almost three weeks due to an issue that was eventually diagnosed as “a costovertebral dysfunction” in his back. A few days ago, Angels head trainer Mike Frostad spoke to reporters and said that Trout may have to manage the issue “not just through the rest of this season, but also through the rest of his career probably.”
Despite that ominous-sounding quote, Trout himself seemed far less concerned, even though he was set to see a back specialist. With that meeting now having taken place, it seems that the initial concerns were perhaps overblown, with Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reporting that Trout got encouraging news from the specialist. After speaking with Dr. Robert Watkins, Trout is going to begin rotational exercises this week and hopefully start swinging a bat not long after.
“It went from my career is over to hopefully I’m going to play soon,” Trout said, adding that he’s already started a workout regimen of core exercises and isn’t really feeling the injury anymore. “It’s pretty much gone right now. It’s pretty promising.”
With the club sitting at 43-59, it seems it will be another lost season for the Halos. meaning there’s no need to rush Trout back and that he can ramp up activities at whatever pace is best for his long-term health. Though he won’t be able to make a huge impact in terms of the standings, returning before the end of this season would surely be an encouraging sign for the Angels and their fans.
2023 figures to be another important season for the franchise, as it will potentially be the team’s last with two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, who is slated to reach free agency after that campaign. (The Angels have reportedly been considering trade offers on Ohtani but a deal still seems unlikely to come together.) Despite having the superstar tandem of Trout and Ohtani in recent years, the Angels haven’t had a winning record since 2015 and haven’t made the postseason since 2014. They are unlikely to break either of those droughts here in 2022, meaning next year could be the last chance to do so with both Trout and Ohtani on the same team, barring an Ohtani extension.
Trout is still capable of producing elite numbers but has been significantly hampered by injuries for a second consecutive season. Last year, he got into 36 contests and hit .333/.466/.624 for a wRC+ of 190 before a calf injury ended his season. This year, he’s already more than doubled last year’s games played number, getting into 79 so far. His .270/.368/.599 batting line is a bit below last year’s pace, but his 167 wRC+ is still among the best in the majors.