Mike Trout has been out of action for nearly three weeks with a problem eventually diagnosed as “costovertebral dysfunction” in his back. Speaking to reporters a few days ago, Angels head coach Mike Frostad said Trout may have to deal with the issue “not just for the rest of this season, but probably for the rest of his career.”
Despite that ominous-sounding quote, Trout himself seemed far less concerned about seeing a back specialist. Now that that meeting has taken place, the initial concerns may seem overdone, as MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that Trout has received encouraging news from the specialist. After a conversation with Dr. Robert Watkins will begin rotational exercises with Trout this week and hopefully start swinging a racquet not long after.
“My career is over and I hope to play soon,” Trout said, adding that he’s already started a core exercise regimen and isn’t really feeling the injury anymore. “Right now it’s pretty much gone. It’s quite promising.”
With the club sitting at 43-59 it looks like another losing season for the Halos. This means Trout doesn’t need to be pushed back and he can ramp up his activities at the pace that’s best for his long-term health. While he won’t make much of an impact on the table, a return before the end of this season would certainly be an encouraging sign for the Angels and their fans.
2023 will be another important season for the franchise as it may be the team’s last with a two-way Superstar Shhei Ohtani, which should reach the free agency after this campaign. (The Angels have reportedly considered trade offers for Ohtani, but a deal still seems unlikely to materialize.) Despite having had the superstar tandem of Trout and Ohtani in recent years, the Angels have not had a winning record since 2015 and neither have they unlikely to break any of those droughts here in 2022, meaning next year could be the last chance to do so with Trout and Ohtani on the same team barring an Ohtani extension.
Trout is still capable of producing top numbers but has been severely hampered by injuries for the second straight season. Last year he competed in 36 contests and scored .333/.466/.624 for a wRC+ of 190 before a calf injury ended his season. This year he has already more than doubled the number of games played from last year, coming to 79 so far. His .270/.368/.599 batting line is a little below last year’s pace, but his 167 wRC+ is still among the best in the majors.