Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout diagnosed with 'pretty rare condition' in back with long-term concerns

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Mike Trout has been sidelined with rib cage inflammation for the last two weeks and could be out several more after Los Angeles Angels trainer Mike Frostad revealed on Wednesday that the three-time league MVP has been diagnosed with a costovertebral dysfunction at his T5 vertebrae.

"This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back," Frostad said before the Angels concluded a six-game road trip against the Kansas City Royals. "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.”

Trout has not played since July 12 with what was first was being called back spasms before going on the injured list with rib cage inflammation. After an examination by Watkins, the co-director of the Marina Spine Clinic in Los Angeles, it was discovered that the rib issue was in fact the rare spinal dysfunction that Frostad said is something Trout will likely need to cope with for the rest of his playing career.

''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,'' Frostad said. ''And there's so many things that can aggravate it. But this doctor hasn't seen a lot of it.''

Over the All-Star break, Trout received a cortisone shot, which did alleviate some of the pain, according to Frostad. However, Frostad also said Trout will go at least another week before he partakes in any baseball activity.

"I think he's starting to feel like he's getting the benefits," Frostad said. "But long-term 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."

Although the Angels entered play Wednesday 22.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West and 11 games out of the league's third wild-card spot, the team has not yet considered shutting Trout down for the rest of the season for the second year in a row.

Limited to just 36 games in 2021 due to a strained right calf, Trout was enjoying another stellar season upon his return this year, compiling 24 home runs, 17 doubles, 51 RBIs and 55 runs with a .270 batting average, .368 on-base percentage, and .599 slugging percentage in 79 games while being elected to his 10th All-Star Game.

The 30-year-old Trout will have another appointment with Watkins next week before the Angels map out a timetable for a potential return.

''He's going to have a follow-up here once we get back," Frostad said, "and we'll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.''

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