Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — Mike Trout is on the disabled list and the superstar that Major League Baseball tried unsuccessfully to launch into the upper stratosphere of stars is likely to miss a couple of months of baseball.

It’s another setback in the career of either one of the game’s best-ever baseball players or one of its most misunderstood. Either way, baseball without Trout roaming the Los Angeles Angles outfield for its high summer is disappointing.

Trout has had a sensational career in a lot of ways, a disappointing one on other levels. Trout says most of the right things; he does most of the right things.

He’s put up awesome numbers, is in the MVP conversation when he’s healthy and might someday go down as one of the best players of his era.

The problem with Trout is two-fold: He has appeared in the playoffs just once in his career – a 2014 sweep by the Kansas City Royals – and he’s missed so many games over the last four seasons it’s hard to gauge how good he is today.

Trout appeared in 40 games with the Angels in 2011, then followed that up with a monstrous 2012 campaign – hitting .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RI and stealing 49 bases. It was a breakthrough season that turned a lot of heads.

Oddly, he’s never hit for that high of an average in a full season since. He did slug 41 home runs in 2015, but his average dipped below .300 and he drove in only 90 runs.

He’s been steady to say the least. He’s won three MVP awards. He has 378 career home runs and a career average just a tick under .300.

The problem lately has been his durability.

Since appearing in 159 games in 2016, the most games Trout has played in during any season was 140. After the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he’s appeared 36 games in 2021, 82 in 2023 and just 29 in 2024. He’s likely to miss at least six to eight weeks, putting him back in the batters’ box maybe in August.

Trout was leading the majors in home runs with 10 when he was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

“It’s tough because I felt really good (to begin the season), but things just happen. I’m doing everything I can to get back on the field,” Trout said. “I want to go as fast as I can, but I don’t want to push it.”

He opted for surgery as opposed to playing through the pain and being a full-time designated hitter.

“It was an option they put out there. It would have been just maintaining the pain level of it,” the Angels best player said Thursday. “The day I got the MRI and it showed that I was in a lot of pain. It would have been a tough road for the rest of the year to bear that.”

He’s unsure of when or how the injury occurred. It just started hurting.

“It wasn’t one particular play that did it. I felt a little ache and woke up the next day and couldn’t walk,” he said.

A summer without Trout isn’t ideal for the Angels to say the least. A serious question, however: Will anyone notice? The Angels are 14-25 and fourth place in the American League West. The team’s attendance ranks in the middle of the pack and the playoffs are only a fantasy.   

Several years ago, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked if the league should do more to enhance Trout’s persona.

“Mike is a great, great player, and a really nice person, but he’s made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time,” Manfred said. “I think we could help him make his brand very big. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

While the Angels did their best to defend their star, Trout barely blinked.

"I am not a petty guy and would really encourage everyone just to move forward,” he said. “Everything is cool between the Commissioner and myself. End of story. I am just ready to play some baseball!"

Trout has indeed played baseball just fine. But he’s left fans wanting more for years. He’s now at the point in his career where it’s time to realize, there’s probably nothing more you are going to get.

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