Mike Trout missed just over one month between July 12 and Aug. 19 after being diagnosed with a rare back condition. And while it’s not expected to hinder his career in any significant way, he was being watched closely when he returned to see if he looked back to full strength.
Two games into the Los Angeles Angels’ series with the Detroit Tigers, and it’s safe to say that Trout looks back to his old self. He’s currently 4-for-8 with two home runs and a double in the two outings. And in his 17 games since returning, Trout is batting .299 with a .989 OPS, both numbers sitting just below his career averages.
He has 20 hits in 17 games, seven of them home runs. Trout has also recorded a significant number of fly ball outs, signaling that his power is about where he wants it to be.
After Tuesday’s game — in which Trout hit a 414-foot dead center field home run — Trout spoke about where he feels he’s at in terms of getting back to his usual self, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I’ve been getting good pitches to hit and putting some good swings on them,” Trout said. “I’m starting to get some timing back. Still missing some pitches, but I’ve hit some balls hard.”
Trout’s season OPS is up to .972, which sits slightly below his career OPS of 1.000. However, it often takes time after returning from a long absence to get into a complete rhythm, even for a player of Trout’s caliber.
The Angels superstar missed a majority of the 2021 season due to a calf strain, and then missed a full month in 2022. Between the two injuries, it’s reasonable to expect a slight decline in his production. However, there are very few players in MLB history who could call an OPS in the high 900’s a decline.
If Trout does finish around his current .972 OPS, it would be his lowest since 2014, when he had a .939 OPS and still won the American League MVP award, his first at the time.
Magneuris Sierra bunts to victory on Tuesday
The Angels were unable to secure a victory against the Tigers on Tuesday until the 10th inning, when an unlikely hero came to the plate. With runners on the corners and one out, it was Magneuris Sierra up to bat.
He laid down a perfect bunt that brought Andrew Velazquez home from third base and gave the Angels a 5-4 win, their eighth win in 11 games.