Angels star Trout needs knee surgery: 'Frustrating'

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout, the Angels’ superstar center fielder who has been hampered by a litany of injuries in recent years, suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee that will require surgery.

The Angels did not announce a timetable for Trout’s recovery while revealing the injury Tuesday, but sources familiar with the situation said a best-case scenario could be four to six weeks. A true timeline, however, can’t be determined until doctors take a closer look at Trout’s knee. Surgery is expected to take place at some point this week, with a source indicating it could happen Friday.

Trout, considered one of the game’s best players before injuries continually sidelined him over the past three seasons, was on the verge of tears while addressing the media.

“It’s just frustrating,” Trout said, getting choked up. “But we’ll get through it.”

Most frustrating to Trout, 32, is that he can’t pinpoint the moment the injury took place. He played the entirety of Monday’s 6-5, come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, stealing a base and even scoring from second on a wild pitch and an error. Midway through the third inning, he began to feel “a little bit of ache” in the knee.

“Didn’t think anything of it,” Trout said. “And then I was hitting, running, didn’t feel nothing.”

The soreness escalated as the game progressed, however, prompting Trout to inform the team’s training staff.

“It was just sore,” Trout said. “I was kind of telling myself maybe I just banged it on something and I didn’t realize it. Then after the game, getting treatment, it was really sore.”

The plan at that point was to get imaging done if the soreness continued when he awoke the following day. On Tuesday morning, Trout said, “I couldn’t get out of bed.” A follow-up MRI revealed the meniscus tear.

“Nobody wants to play more than Mike does,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “He loves this. He loves everything about this. He wakes up thinking about it, he goes to bed thinking about it. He eats, sleeps and breathes baseball. I really feel for him.”

Trout’s diagnosis comes four days after third baseman Anthony Rendon revealed he is dealing with a “high-grade partial tear” in his left hamstring, making 2024 yet another season in which the Angels will play many games without two of their best players. Trout and Rendon combined to play in only 385 of a potential 972 games from 2021 to 2023, during which they made a combined $207.85 million in salary.

Their absence this year is even more magnified after the Angels lost two-way star Shohei Ohtani to the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers over the offseason. Alternate options remain limited, especially after the team designated veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks for assignment Monday. Mickey Moniak is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in center field, though utility man Luis Rengifo could play there from time to time. Later Tuesday, the Angels signed veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar for the major league minimum.

The Angels, 10 years removed from their last postseason appearance and losers of nine of 10 heading into this week, had an 11-18 record entering play Tuesday.

“We’re going to miss Mike,” first-year Angels manager Ron Washington said. “I think we all know what he means to this organization. But the thing about baseball — there’s a game on the schedule. You have to play it. You have to put nine guys on the field. So we’re going to put nine guys on the field. Some guys are going to get the opportunity that they’ve been craving, and we’ll see what they can do with it.”

Trout finished first or second in American League MVP voting after seven of his first eight full seasons, putting him on track to possibly be the greatest player in baseball history. He accumulated a major-league-leading 70.5 FanGraphs wins above replacement during that stretch, from 2012 to 2019, during which he slashed .308/.422/.587 while accumulating 280 home runs and 196 stolen bases.

But his body has betrayed him in recent years. Coming off the COVID-19-shortened season of 2020, Trout played in only 237 of a potential 486 games over the ensuing three years. In 2021, he suffered a strained calf in the middle of May and wound up missing the rest of the season. In 2022, a back injury caused him to miss a little more than a month in the middle of the summer. And in 2023, Trout suffered a fractured hamate bone on his left hand during a swing on July 3, returned for one game on Aug. 22 and didn’t come back the rest of the year.

Trout entered the 2024 season rejuvenated. He was looking forward to a fully healthy season and even anticipated stealing bases more frequently. Trout accomplished that through the Angels’ first 29 games, hitting a major-league-leading 10 home runs while also stealing six bases, the same total he had from 2020 to 2023.

Now, though, he is faced with another prolonged rehab.

“You play the game hard,” Trout said, “and s— happens.”

ESPN’s Jeff Passan contributed to this report.

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