Mike Trout said he appreciated all the support he received Wednesday after the Los Angeles Angels‘ head athletic trainer revealed the three-time American League MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.
Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.
“I think he meant that I have to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to keep it from coming back,” Trout said after watching his Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 to clinch their first series win in nearly a month.
“I’m appreciative of all the prayer requests, but my career is not over.”
The 10-time All-Star left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.
On Wednesday, Angels athletic trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition.
“This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back,” Frostad said. “The doctor (Robert Watkins III), who is one of the most well-known spine surgeons in the country — if not the world — doesn’t see a lot of these.
“And for it to happen in a baseball player — we just have to take into consideration what he puts himself through with hitting, swinging on a daily basis just to get prepared, and then also playing in the outfield, diving for balls, jumping into the wall — things like that. There’s so many things that can aggravate it. But this doctor hasn’t seen a lot of it.”
Trout smiled when thinking about the absurdity of the overreactions he’d been seeing online after Frostad’s comments.
“I got back and my phone was blowing up: ‘My career is over,'” he said. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”
Trout received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results. He has a follow-up visit next week and “we’ll go from there,” he said, though he has every intention of being back this year.
“Of course,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
The Angels have had no discussions about shutting him down.
“I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to make that decision,” Frostad said. “He’s going to have a follow-up here once we get back and we’ll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.”
Trout, the second-highest-paid player in the game at $37.1 million, had been enjoying a nice bounce-back season after a calf injury limited him to just 36 games last season. He was hitting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games, a rare bright spot in what has been a dismal season for the Angels.
“He’s been a great teammate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s been [in] the dugout, helping out his teammate — he’s obviously a good sounding board for a lot of young players. For them to have him here and know that he’s supporting them is huge, I’m sure, for some younger guys.”