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Mike Trout injury: Angels slugger to get knee surgery on torn meniscus, but not expected to miss entire season

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout requires surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee, GM Perry Minasian announced Tuesday. The surgery is not expected to be season-ending. According to the Baseball Prospectus injury recovery database, a torn meniscus typically comes with a 2-3 month absence. That puts Trout on track to return sometime in July or August if all goes accordingly. 

There was no apparent play where Trout suffered the injury. He played all nine innings of Monday night’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies (LAA 6, PHI 5) in his usual center field, and went 0 for 3 at the plate with a walk. Trout has played 24 games in center field and five as the designated hitter this year. He has typically DHed during day games after a night game.

“It’s just frustrating. It’s crazy. I don’t even know when I did it,” Trout said Tuesday. “Third inning, after the inning was over, I was running in to the dugout, I felt like a little bit of ache in my knee. Not like a serious ache, like, ‘That was weird.’ Didn’t think anything of it. Was hitting, running, didn’t feel nothing. Scoring from second, nothing. It was just after, when I did activity and I sat down and got back up, that’s when I started feeling it.”

Trout added: “I wasn’t feeling it hitting, I wasn’t feeling it running. I was just sore. I was just telling myself maybe I just banged it on something and didn’t realize it. Then after the game, getting treatment, really sore. Plan was to just see how I felt in the morning. If I woke up I was sore, get it looked at. That was the plan. Last night it was tough for me to sleep. It was just aching all night.”

Trout went for tests Tuesday that confirmed the torn meniscus. Injuries have, unfortunately, begun to pile up for Trout in recent years. He played only 237 of 486 possible games from 2021-23, or 49%. Now he’ll miss a significant chunk of 2024 as well. Here are Trout’s injuries:

Date Injury Days missed

Aug. 6, 2018

Wrist inflammation

18

May 18, 2021

Calf strain

139

July 15, 2022

Back

35

July 4, 2023

Fractured hamate

89

April 30, 2034

Torn meniscus

TBD

Trout, 32, has played well this season overall, slugging a league-leading 10 home runs. He has cooled down over the last two weeks or so, but still owns a well-above-average .220/.325/.541 slash line. For what it’s worth, Trout’s sprint speed is in the 92nd percentile this season, so the knee injury hadn’t slowed him down.

To replace Trout, the Angels signed veteran Kevin Pillar prior to Tuesday’s game, the team announced. Pillar, 35, began the season with the Chicago White Sox. He hit .160/.290/.360 with home run in 17 games before being designated for assignment and electing free agency this past weekend. The Angels will pay Pillar the prorated minimum for the rest of 2024.

Mickey Moniak, who slugged 14 home runs with an .802 OPS in 85 games last season, is hitting .143/.200/.214 this year, and had begun to lose playing time to Jo Adell of late. Trout’s injury figures to push Moniak back into the lineup full-time, at least against right-handed pitchers. Adell, Moniak, Pillar, and Taylor Ward will be the club’s regular outfielders.

This is Year 6 of Trout’s massive 12-year, $426.5 million contract. The Angels owe him $35.45 million per year through 2030. Trout has full no-trade protection and has resisted a trade to date, but, even if he were open to a move, the Halos would have a tough time finding a taker given the injuries and the money. They would have to eat salary to facilitate a deal.

Even with Trout having a strong April, the Angels enter play Tuesday with an 11-18 record and a minus-35 run differential. They have lost nine of their last 11 games.

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