After going on the injured list Aug. 23 — in an effort to allow himself to further heal and recover from the hamate bone he fractured and had surgery on in July — the Angels manager said before the team’s series-concluding game against the Twins that Trout would be going on the 60-day injured list.
This is the third consecutive year that Trout, 32, has missed significant time because of injury.
He came into this season with the hopes of preventing those two injuries from recurring, only to be sidelined by a new issue.
Trout fractured his left hamate during the first game of a series with the Padres in San Diego on July 3. In an effort to return as fast as possible with the team in playoff contention, he opted to have the fractured part of his hamate surgically removed in order to speed up the healing and recovery process.
The average return time for a hamate fracture is typically six to eight weeks, but MLB players have returned after as little as four weeks. Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez, for example, returned four weeks and one day after getting surgery to remove his fractured right hamate in 2019.
Trout made a concerted effort and returned in about seven weeks after getting surgery, missing 38 games.
He knew that in his return, as he played more, his biggest obstacle would continue to be pain tolerance. Trout was expecting that any of the soreness he experienced would be bearable enough that it would not affect his at-bats.
“It’s definitely sore, but I talked to some doctors and they told me that I can’t injure it more,” Trout said the afternoon before his brief return. “I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not feeling anything in the hand right now. So just going in there and being cautious, coming to get treatment every day, trying to keep the soreness down.”
The Angels also did imaging exams on his hand and wrist, general manager Perry Minasian said, before he played in that one game against the Reds on Aug. 22 and structurally everything looked OK.
He went one for four in that game and came out of it feeling more sore than he had expected he would.
The Angels decided after the next day’s games, a doubleheader with the Reds in which he did not play, to send him back to the IL.
“I wasn’t right. I was in some pain more than tolerable,” Trout told reporters in New York, ahead of the Angels’ following series against the Mets on Aug. 25. “I thought I could push it just to get back out there and just came in the next day really, really sore.
“And I just had a conversation with the trainers and [manager Phil Nevin] and [general manager Perry Minasian] … we made the call, just to go back [on the IL], get it right and then come back when it’s right.”
He said that he was affected most while swinging, both when his bat made contact with the ball and when he was swinging without making contact.
“It felt good a little bit in the first at-bat,” Trout explained. “And then once I started fouling some pitches off, it wasn’t really an at-bat for me. It was more ‘man, my hand really hurts.’ But I was just trying to get through it. Probably shouldn’t have. But I gave it a shot.”
Trout’s move to the 60-day IL created space on the roster for the Angels to call up right-handed pitcher Carson Fullmer. He will take lefty Tyler Anderson’s spot after Anderson went on the IL because of a left knee injury. Also concluding their season on the IL are Anthony Rendon (shin), who Nevin said on Saturday had not made enough progress to return, and C.J. Cron (back) who went back on the IL Sunday.
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