It turns out Mike Trout might be back in the Los Angeles Angels lineup much sooner than once feared.
The future Hall of Famer visited a back specialist Thursday and will start rotational exercises Wednesday, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). It was a positive development after Angels head athletic trainer Mike Frostad previously said Trout may have to deal with the back injury for the rest of his career, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
"It went from my career is over to now hopefully I'm going to play here soon," Trout said. "Coming out of the workouts, it's been great every day. It's getting better. It's very promising to start rotational stuff. I'll do that for a couple days in the weight room and if that goes well, I'll start swinging."
While Trout previously conceded, "I've got to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to prevent it from coming back," he also told Fletcher concerns about a career-long setback were "an exaggeration."
He echoed that sentiment in his latest comments, saying: "I think that's what Frosty was initially getting at—keeping a routine so that it doesn't come back. Once you let it settle down, get the inflammation out of there and build the muscles up around, it'll be good."
Trout has not played since July 12, and there is frankly no reason for him to hurry back considering the Angels are 43-58 and nowhere near playoff contention.
There is probably even more reason for caution for the 30-year-old since injuries are starting to be a concern. He last played more than 140 games during the 2016 campaign and appeared in just 36 games last year.
Having Trout healthy in 2023 and beyond is far more important than playing out the rest of this string.
The three-time American League MVP, 10-time All-Star and eight-time Silver Slugger remains one of Los Angeles' best chances to compete next season, which made the initial concern that the back injury would linger for the rest of his career all the more notable.
It appears as if that is no longer as much of a worry and Trout may even be back in the lineup for the Angels for the stretch run.