Trout talks calf injury, Little League Classic

August 21st, 2021

CLEVELAND -- Angels superstar center fielder said he’s been ramping up his baseball activities in recent days and is nearing a rehab assignment, but there’s no exact timetable for when that’ll happen.

Trout, a nine-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP, has been out since May 17 with a right calf strain. He was initially expected to return at some point in July, but he’s had trouble with the recovery part of the injury. He’s been running every other day but still isn’t to the point where he can run on back-to-back days without soreness. He admitted it’s been the most difficult injury he’s had to deal with in his illustrious 11-year career.

"Real frustrating,” Trout said. “One of the hardest things I've been through in my career. I've been through some injuries, but this thing is tough. I didn't realize how much I use my calf. It's frustrating, and obviously I want to be back soon, but I gotta be smart. I can't go out there and compensate and something else happens. I gotta make sure this thing is fully right before I go back out there."

Trout, 30, was batting .333/.466/.624 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in 36 games before the injury and said he has no plans to shut it down for the season. He also said he prefers to return to his natural position of center field than to a corner spot, but he hasn’t had a conversation with the coaching staff about that yet.

“I tore it pretty bad and now it’s pretty much healed. It’s just about breaking up that scar tissue,” Trout said. “It's frustrating because I feel really good during my workouts and then just after it just aches on me. It's a way longer process than I thought it would be. I'm going crazy. There's only so much you can do to get it better, and I'm looking for every single way to get out there and whatever I need to do to get this thing back right."

Trout added that it’s been mentally tough to be away from the game, but he credited his wife, Jessica, and his son, Beckham, for helping him get his mind off his injury. He also tries to stay as engaged as he can during games, spending time in the dugout with manager Joe Maddon and giving his teammates advice before, during and after games.

“Mental health is serious stuff,” said Trout, who lost his brother-in-law Aaron Cox to suicide in 2018. “It's nothing to look over. I'm just staying positive and getting my mind off it. And when I'm here, I try to do everything I can to help the team."

Trout will remain on the trip with the Angels as they head to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League Classic on Sunday. Even though he won’t be able to play, the former Millville (N.J.) Little League star said he’s excited to interact with the players participating in the Little League World Series.

“I’m excited to go out there, and I know there’s a New Jersey team representing,” Trout said. “The atmosphere will be a little bit different because of COVID, but I’m sure the kids are excited for us to come. I’ve never been to the Little League World Series, but it’s always being watched in the clubhouse on TV. I think I got to remember the names, because you never know, in a couple years they might be drafted. So it’ll be great for the kids and they earned this.”

Trout said he’s looking forward to seeing how the youth players respond to meeting fellow superstar Shohei Ohtani. Trout said he’s been in awe of what Ohtani has been able to do this season, as the two-way star leads the Majors with 40 homers and also is 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 100 innings as a pitcher.

“If it’s anything like the reactions he gets at every ballpark, I’m sure it’ll be pretty exciting,” Trout said. “And all the teams are going to look forward to seeing him on the field. I’ve never seen anything like it. He threw eight innings and homered [Wednesday] and now he has 40 of them. It’s pretty amazing. And obviously there’s all this stuff about him on the field, but he’s an even better person.”