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Angels' Mike Trout Says He'll Return from Back Injury 'Sooner Rather Than Later'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 12, 2022

G Fiume/Getty Images

Los Angeles Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout suggested Friday that he will return from injury at some point this season.

According to Jeff Fletcher of SoCal News Group, Trout said that he has been hitting soft toss in the batting cage and will hit on the field Saturday before adding that he will be back in the lineup "sooner rather than later."

Trout is on the injured list and has not played since July 12 because of a left rib cage inflammation, causing him to miss the All-Star Game and leaving the Angels without their top hitter.

The 31-year-old Trout has long been one of the best players in baseball when healthy and is a likely future Hall of Famer, but injuries have ravaged him in recent years.

Since rarely missing a game from 2013 through 2016, Trout has spent a ton of time on the shelf. He hasn't played in more than 140 games in a season since then, and he is coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him appear in only 36 games.

Trout has played in 79 games this season, slashing .270/.368/.599 with 24 home runs, 51 RBI and 55 runs scored. He was in the AL MVP conversation before getting injured, but that is no longer the case.

Also, the Angels got off to a hot start this season before falling into a tailspin, and things haven't gotten any easier without Trout.

L.A. entered play Friday with a 49-63 record, putting it fourth in the AL West and on pace to miss the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season.

Trout is a 10-time All-Star, including this season, plus a three-time AL MVP, eight-time Silver Slugger award winner and the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year.

He has also finished second in the AL MVP voting four times, and finished second or better in seven of eight seasons from 2012 through 2019.

Along with two-way star Shohei Ohtani, Trout is the biggest reason to watch the Angels, and there isn't much incentive for fans to tune in when he is out.

Even if Trout does return soon, it is likely far too late to resuscitate the Angels' playoff chances, which could lead to some tough decisions being made during the offseason regarding key players.

Trading Trout in the midst of a 12-year, $426.5 million contract that runs through 2030 may not be viable, but trading Ohtani is an option.

The Angels may need to turn things around a bit late in the season and play better baseball in order to justify keeping the team together, and the return of Trout would help immensely in that regard.

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