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Angels' Mike Trout has 'rare' back condition, 2022 return in question

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Angels' Mike Trout has 'rare' back condition, 2022 return in question
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout is dealing with a rare back condition. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 28 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout was diagnosed with a rare back condition and his timeline to return to the field this season is in question, team athletic trainer Mike Frostad told reporters.

Frostad spoke about the injury before the Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Trout, a three-time MVP, hasn't played since July 12. He remains on the injured list, for what was initially called rib cage inflammation.

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"This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back," Frostad said. "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.

"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. But this doctor hasn't seen a lot of it."

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The Angels called the condition costovertebral dysfunction, which results in irritation in the joints between the ribs and vertebrae.

Trout, 30, also spoke to reporters after Wednesday's game. He said his "goal" is to return this season and he plans to meet Sunday for a checkup with a doctor. He said he received a lot of text messages from concerned people who thought his "career is over."

"I respond to texts all the time, but just, I've got to stay on top of it," Trout said of his condition. "It's just rare for a baseball player. I'm just going to have to stay on top of it."

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Trout said he couldn't "pinpoint exactly what happened," but his back started aching and "got to a point" where its was "bothering" his swing.

He told reporters he couldn't give them a "timeline," when asked when he could swing a bat again. He plans to see what the doctor says Sunday and hopes to resume swinging after the visit.

Trout, 30, is widely recognized as one of the best players in MLB history. The 10-time All-Star owns a career .303 average with 334 home runs over 12 seasons. Trout hit .270, the lowest average since his 2011 rookie season, with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games this season.

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The Angels (42-56) will host the Texas Rangers (43-54) at 9:38 p.m. EDT Thursday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

Trout signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension in 2019 with the Angels. That deal is the most-lucrative in MLB history and among the priciest in all of sports.

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