Trout to have knee surgery, expected to return in '24

May 1st, 2024

ANAHEIM -- Angels superstar had trouble holding back his tears on Tuesday as he described yet another injury that is expected to keep him out for an extended period of time.

Trout, a three-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star, suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in Monday’s 6-5 win over the Phillies and will undergo surgery in the coming days, general manager Perry Minasian announced. It’s not expected to be a season-ending operation, but no immediate timetable was provided from the Angels or Trout.

“It’s tough,” said an emotional Trout prior to the Angels' 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. “It’s just frustrating. But we’ll get through it.”

Trout, 32, said the hardest part is he’s not even sure when he sustained the injury. He had no knee issues leading up to Monday’s series opener, but felt something while jogging off the field in the third inning. Trout continued to play through the injury, including stealing second base in the seventh inning and scoring the eventual winning run from second base on a wild pitch. But his knee continued to worsen and he underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday that revealed the damage.

“It’s crazy because when I look back, I don’t even know when I did it,” Trout said. “In the third inning when I was going back to the dugout, I felt an ache, but just like a little ache where it was more like, ‘This is weird.’ Didn’t think anything of it and was hitting and running and didn’t feel anything. Stole second, felt nothing. It was just after I did activity and sat back down and got back up, that’s when I felt it.”

Trout was off to a strong start to his season with a .220/.325/.541 line and 10 home runs, which were tied with Gunnar Henderson for the most in the Majors. Trout has also been more active on the bases this year, with as many steals (six) as he had in the last four years combined.

Trout called it another freak injury that was out of his control and was clearly frustrated by the prospect of missing time yet again.

“It’s all guesses, trying to pinpoint where this came from,” Trout said. “You play the game hard and [stuff] happens.”

Unfortunately for Trout and the Angels, injuries have become a recurring theme in recent years. Trout played in just 82 games last year due to a fractured wrist and 36 games in 2021 due to a right calf strain. He cleared 100 games played in 2022 but has not played in 130 or more games since 2019.

“We’re going to miss Mike,” manager Ron Washington said. “I think we know what he means to this organization. But the thing about baseball is, when there's a game on the schedule, you have to play. Some guys are going to get the opportunity that they've been craving. Now, we're going to see what they’re going to do.”

With Trout out, the Angels signed veteran Kevin Pillar to a one-year deal worth $740,000 on Tuesday to add to an outfield that consists of Taylor Ward, Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak. Infelders Luis Rengifo, Ehire Adrianza and Cole Tucker have some experience there, while Bryce Teodosio and Jordyn Adams offer depth at Triple-A Salt Lake.

“Perry is going to do something to help us, get some people in here and we’ll see how they fit in,” Washington said. “You might see Adell in center field sometimes, you might see Rengifo out there sometimes and, of course, you’ll see Moniak.”

Moniak has struggled this year after a breakout season in 2023, but he is expected to get more regular playing time in Trout’s absence. He was one of several players who talked with Trout about his injury in the clubhouse before the game.

“That’s our captain, that’s our guy, our leader,” Moniak said. “Him going down is going to be tough. We’re just going to have to hold it down until he’s back and healthy. But it’s brutal.”

Minasian said it’s an opportunity for others like Moniak to step up while the Angels also navigate without fellow veteran Anthony Rendon, who is out with a high-grade partial hamstring tear.

“This team is not built on one player, it's not built on two players,” Minasian said. “We’re going to have some guys step up. This is where having a veteran manager and having a veteran coaching staff really come in handy.”

Trout said he doesn’t know the full details of his upcoming operation or the rehab just yet, but that he plans to still be there for his teammates.

“It hurts right now but I have to look at the positives,” Trout said. “I’ll be back in a few months. Crush the rehab and support my teammates.”