Mike Trout has been diagnosed with a rare back condition – a costovertebral dysfunction at T5 – that is likely to affect him for the rest of his playing career.
“The doctor (Robert Watkins III), who is one of the most well-known spine surgeons in the country – if not the world – doesn’t see a lot of these,” Los Angeles Angels athletic trainer Mike Frostad said on Wednesday, according to ESPN.
“And for it to happen in a baseball player – we just have to take into consideration what he puts himself through with hitting, swinging on a daily basis just to get prepared, and then also playing in the outfield, diving for balls, jumping into the wall – things like that. There’s so many things that can aggravate it.”
Frostad added that the condition could affect Trout’s long-term prospects.
“We do have to look at this as something that… he has to manage it, not just through the rest of this season, but also through the rest of his career probably,” he said, according to MLB.com.
Following these comments, Trout himself addressed reporters after the Angels’ 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday evening to clarify the news and downplay its severity.
“I appreciate all the prayer requests, but my career isn’t over,” the 10-time All Star said, according to the Orange County Register.
Trout left a game against Houston on July 12 with back spasms and was put on the injury list a week later with rib cage inflammation before the underlying condition was diagnosed.
He withdrew from the All-Star Game and had a cortisone shot last week but will remain sidelined from training for at least another week.
“The last two days have been huge steps. I’m excited with the way it’s going. I’m happy with it,” Trout added.
Although he hopes to return this season, Trout did acknowledge that he will have to “stay on top of a routine” to manage the condition.
It marks a setback for the second-highest paid player in the game during his comeback season in which he has hit .270 with 24 home runs and 51 RBIs in 79 games, following a calf injury that forced him to miss much of last year.
Trout has another appointment with the doctor on Sunday.