Mike Trout talks World Baseball Classic, back injury

This story is adapted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat magazine. To read the full paper, Click here. SY reservation to get it regularly in your inbox.

Trout said he regretted not playing in the 2017 Classic — where the United States won for the first time — and added that it was always a goal to play for Team USA. He said he has been working on most of the logistics for Spring Training, as he will report to camp on February 15th and train with the Angels until March 7th. Ariz., not far from the clubhouse in Tempe.

Trout, 31, also added that his back is healthy after missing more than a month between mid-July and mid-August with an injury last season. He hasn’t shown much of an impact since his return, hitting .308/.379/.686 with 16 homers and 29 RBI over his last 40 games. That included a seven-game hitting streak in early September that helped him reach 40 homers in just 119 games.

“When the season ended, I didn’t feel anything in my back,” Trout said. “It’s been four months without any problems. I felt it a little bit the first time I came back, but I managed it well. You have to keep that routine in the weight room, and warm up, and make sure all the back muscles are strong.”

Trout talks to general manager Perry Minasian often during the offseason and likes what he’s been able to do this winter.

“I think Perry did a great job,” Trout said. “It just brings a piece that we didn’t see last year.”

Trout also talked about the exciting possibility of facing his legendary teammate Shohei Ohtani in the World Baseball Classic. Team Japan is in Pool B and Team USA is in Pool C, with the first meeting in the semifinals. But it was something that was talked about last season and could make for a great game.

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“We’ve been talking about it for the past year, because I know he’s going to do it,” Trout said. “I get front row seats every time he comes down with us. This is very bad. Everyone I talk to about it turns to them saying they don’t want to be in a box. It will be fun. I look forward to it. He’s one of my best friends, so it’s going to be fun.”

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