Angels star Mike Trout needs surgery for torn meniscus

ANAHEIM — Mike Trout fought back tears as he stood in front of reporters and described the latest blow to a career that has gone painfully off track.

The Angels three-time MVP center fielder learned on Tuesday that he has a torn meniscus in his left knee, which will require surgery that will cost him a significant chunk of the season. Although the Angels expect him back sometime this season, there is no timeline for how soon.

“It’s tough,” Trout said, struggling to compose himself to find the words. “It’s just frustrating, going through it.”

The injury seemingly came out of nowhere. Trout scored from second base on a wild pitch and he stole a base on Monday night, but he felt something unusual around the third inning. It got worse overnight, and he went for an MRI exam on Tuesday morning.

This will be the fourth consecutive season that Trout has missed significant time. He missed more than four months with a strained calf in 2021, five weeks with a back injury in 2022 and three months with a fractured hamate bone in 2023.

Trout, 32, is still a lock for the Hall of Fame because of all he did during the first nine full seasons of his career, but the injuries that have struck him over the last four have been devastating.

“Nobody wants to play more than Mike,” general manager Perry Minasian said. “He loves this. He wakes up thinking about it. He goes to bed thinking about it. He eats, sleeps and breathes baseball. I really feel for him, but this is a team. Good teams, guys step up. No matter who is out, we’re going to stick together.”

The simplest move to replace Trout will be to have Mickey Moniak in center field. Manager Ron Washington said that Moniak will “get a lot of playing time out there,” but he stopped short of saying Moniak would play “every day.”

The Angels also could put Jo Adell in center field, and Washington even mentioned Luis Rengifo getting some opportunity there.

Minasian said the Angels are also “looking at different options inside and outside the organization.” Bryce Teodosio, an outstanding defensive outfielder, is at Triple-A. Jordyn Adams, also an excellent defensive player, is also in Triple-A.

If the Angels want to pick up a veteran to supplement their bench, they could sign someone like Kevin Pillar, who recently became a free agent.

All of this was a shocking turn of events, another bit of adversity piled on to a team that was predicted to finish fourth even before an 11-19 start that raised the question of whether they would be even worse than predicted.

Trout was off to a hot start in terms of homers, blasting a major-league leading 10, but recently he’d been slumping. Trout was hitting .220, including 3 for 25 with runners in scoring position.

Trout said the recent slump had nothing to do with his knee, which didn’t bother him until Monday.

“I don’t know (what caused it),” Trout said. “You can guess, try to pinpoint what play it’s from. I play the game hard and (stuff) happens.”

Trout said his first inkling was when he was running off the field in the third inning on Monday.

“I was running in to the dugout and I felt like a little bit of ache in my knee,” Trout said. “Nothing serious. I was like, that was weird. Didn’t think anything of it. Then I was hitting and running. Didn’t feel anything. Scoring from second, nothing.

“After doing activity, when I sat down and got back up, that’s when I started feeling it. I mentioned something in the seventh or eighth inning to the (medical staff), just to give them a heads up, just to make sure it wasn’t anything crazy.”

Trout said had trouble sleeping on Monday night, and on Tuesday morning he told the Angels that he needed to get it checked, so he underwent an MRI that showed the torn meniscus.

Trout said he’s not sure when he’ll have the surgery, but his understanding is it’s “a pretty simple procedure.”

In the meantime, the Angels will do the best they can to get by without him.

“We’ll never replace Mike, never,” Washington said. “But whoever goes out there and we have to put in that lineup, I just want him to be who he is, and do what he can do.”

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