ANAHEIM, Calif. – The one player the Los Angeles Angels can least afford to lose – on the field and at the box office – will be out for six to eight weeks, the estimated timetable for star center fielder Mike Trout to recover from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Trout, considered the best all-around player in baseball, jammed his thumb into second base on a head-first slide in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game at Miami. Initial X-rays for fractures were negative, but an MRI test Monday revealed a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.
Trout will undergo surgery Wednesday, ending his string of playing in five consecutive All-Star games and likely torpedoing the team’s already slim playoff hopes.
“This team will continue to fight, as it always does, but you’re losing the heart of your order, the middle of your defense and a leader in the dugout,” general manager Billy Eppler said before Monday night’s 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Angel Stadium. “It’s really hard to quantify, but I think you’ll feel the impact.”
Trout, 25, opted for surgery after consulting with Dr. Steven Shin on Monday night. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons had surgery for a similar injury last season and missed five weeks. Washington outfielder Bryce Harper had surgery to repair the same ligament in 2014 and missed eight weeks.
“He’s a guy who’s at the top of his game right now – what he’s doing this season is unbelievable – and to be sidelined in the middle of it is tough,” right fielder Kole Calhoun said. “Nobody wants this, but Mike’s good at everything. He’ll probably be good at rehab, too.”
Trout, a two-time American League most valuable player and three-time runner-up, had been having perhaps his best season, batting .337 with an A.L.-leading 1.203 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He ranks second in the league with 16 homers and has 36 RBIs, 36 runs and 10 stolen bases.
He’s an elite defender, capable of running down balls in the gaps and robbing opponents of home runs with leaping catches above the wall.
The Angels recalled utility player Eric Young Jr. from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill the roster spot of Trout, who was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
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