May 25, 2024

Mike Trout chose surgery over playing through knee injury as DH

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout spoke to reporters today for the first time since having surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. The Los Angeles Angels star revealed that, before getting surgery, he was given the choice to continue playing as a full-time designated hitter. He instead elected to move forward with the surgery, which could sideline him for two to three months.

“It was an option they put out there,” Trout said. “It would have been just maintaining the pain level of it. The day I got the MRI and it showed that I was in a lot of pain, so it would have been a tough road for the rest of the year to bear that. I felt the best option for me was to get it right and be fully healthy to come back soon.”

It would have been a significant amount of pain management, and could have limited his ability to run the bases.

Trout had been struggling offensively at the time of his injury on April 29. He was hitting just .220 and had an .867 OPS bolstered by his 10 home runs in 126 plate appearances.

The superstar center fielder said he did not have a timeline for his return. He should be back, at the latest, in August. However, Trout has missed more time than expected for past injuries — notably his calf strain in 2021 and his broken hamate bone last year, both of which effectively ended those seasons when they weren’t expected to do so.

“It is what it is,” Trout said. “I play the game hard and stuff happens. I try to prepare my body and go out there and play every night and give 100 percent for the team, the fans, for everybody.”

Trout has voiced opposition to playing regularly as a designated hitter. He said he hadn’t considered what the plan would be upon his return when asked if he’d consider serving as a DH or moving to a corner outfield spot.

It’s unclear what kind of team that Trout will return to when he is healthy. The Angels entered Thursday’s series vs. the Royals with a 14-23 record, in last place in the AL West. The Angels have added journeymen players like Willie Calhoun, Cole Tucker, Luis Guillorme, Nike Goodrum, Ehire Adrianza and Kevin Pillar as placeholders for a team hoping to remain competitive.

“We’re still looking to get to the playoffs,” manager Ron Washington said on Thursday. “If this becomes a rebuilding process, you guys will be the first ones to know about it.”

Further reading

Angels’ Mike Trout undergoing knee surgery for torn meniscus, expected to return this season

Mr. Angel? Mike Trout’s chance of ever escaping the franchise now seems even less likely

For Mike Trout, injuries now a painful, unavoidable and consistent part of his story

(Photo of Mike Trout: Ryan Sun / Associated Press)