It has been a long, winding and disappointing season for Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout. He played in 81 of the team’s first 87 games, but struggled to put up his usual production. He slashed .263/.369/.493/.862 with 18 home runs and 14 doubled, a solid season for nearly any Major Leaguer but undoubtedly a down year for Trout.
Then on July 3, Trout suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and was given a 4-8 week recovery timeline. It was assumed that he would return on the later end of that scale, and just over seven weeks later, he made his way back on Aug. 22.
He admitted that he was going to play through pain, but felt it was necessary given where the Angels were in the standings. After only one game, Trout was placed back on the injured list and was put on a slow ramp-up to a return. It was always a lofty belief, but the Angels did not turn their back on the idea that Trout could return this season.
They officially put an end to that hope on Sunday when they transferred Trout to the 60-day IL, ending a disappointing and injury-laden 2023 campaign. Angels manager Phil Nevin was as disappointed as anyone and knows what Trout is going through, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I know it’s disappointing for him,” Nevin said. “It’s frustrating for him. I’m not frustrated at him. Everybody wants to see Mike Trout play, nobody more than us. He helps us. He’s one of the greatest players in the game. He was missed.”
This is another in a growing list of consecutive seasons ended by injury for Trout. He has not played over 119 games in a season since 2019 and has not played over 134 since 2018. The last time he was above 140 games played was 2016.
At 32 years of age, it is no longer realistic to expect 160 games out of Trout every season. But even if he only plays 120, he would still be one of the game’s most valuable players.
Trout now enters his most uncertain offseason of his career, as trade rumors have begun swirling with the free agency of Shohei Ohtani. If Ohtani leaves to another team, the Angels have reportedly signaled a willingness to listen on offers for the generational Hall of Fame-bound superstar.