Although Trout is still not sure how he got it, he is not worried.
“It’s getting better every day,” he told reporters in Kansas City, Missouri, after the Angels’ 4-0 victory over the Royals. “Today I feel very good.”
Asked if he would play again this season, Trout replied: “Of course. It is my goal. … The last two days have been a huge step.
“I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration,” he continued, explaining that his phone is blasting with people worried about whether he can play again. “I appreciate all prayer requests, but my career is not over yet.”
The condition, like sports injuries, is not common. Robert Watkins, the spinal surgeon who checked on Trout, didn’t see the injury, Angels athletic trainer Mike Frostad told reporters Wednesday.
“And for that to happen to a baseball player,” Frostad said, “we just have to take into account what he’s going through, hitting every day, swinging, just getting ready, and then also playing in the outfield.”
Dr. Neil Anand, director of spinal trauma at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, told The Los Angeles Times that the term “injury” usually describes a disruption, dislocation, or movement in the joint between the rib and the vertebral body.
Though uncommon, Anand says injuries are more common in contact sports athletes who “receive blows to the chest or sideways.”
Dr. Alan Beyer, an orthopedic surgeon and executive medical director at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute, added that repetitive overuse, such as playing in the big leagues, can also cause Trout’s problem.
Beyer also explained that an injury like Trout’s doesn’t mean he’s “destined to get worse every season.” He is usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and physical therapy, and can be controlled by making changes to his training regimen.
Trout said he needed to “be aware”.
Last Thursday, Trout was injected with cortisone into a joint in his thoracic spine. It could take two weeks to fully take effect, Frostad said, which could also mean another week before he can start swinging the bat.
“Now he just continues to go through rehabilitation. And he feels better,” Frostad said. “He goes through a good core stabilization program and does a lot of cardio. Just give your back a rest.
There is no timeline for his return yet, but the team is concerned about the long-term implications of this issue.
“Today he is a bit more optimistic and I think he is starting to feel like he is getting benefits. [of the cortisone]Frostad said, “but in the long run we have to look at this as something he has to manage not only for the rest of this season, but for the rest of his career.”
Trout, who turns 31 on August 31st. 7, scheduled to meet again with Watkins on Sunday.
Trout was the first relieved of back spasms and withdrew from the game on 12 July. Frostad explained that Trout felt the pain associated with the team’s trip to Miami a week earlier.
Interim manager Phil Nevin originally intended to give him a two-game rest. He ended up leaving him on the bench for three games. All this week, Frostad, Nevin and Trout have been cautiously optimistic that he will return to the starting lineup any day now.
The batter after the Angels’ game against the Dodgers on July 15 was adamant that he would return the next day. Trout was in the starting lineup on July 16, but right before the first innings, he was scratched because his back problem flared up again.
The next day, Trout decided he didn’t want to injure his back further and walked out of All-Star Game. By July 18, the Angels moved him to the 10-day injury list, retroactive to July 15, due to left chest inflammation.
In the series finale against the Royals, Janson Junk gave up four hits in five-plus innings for his first major league win. Shohei Otani reached base three times and ran for the Angels, who won their first series from June 27-29 against the White Sox.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.