Mike Trout, sidelined with back issues, says ‘career is not over’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Trout appreciated all the support he received after the Los Angels Angels’ head trainer revealed the three-time AL MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

“I think he meant that I have to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to keep it from coming back,” Trout said after watching his Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 to clinch their first series win in nearly a month.

“I’m appreciative of all the prayer requests,” he added, “but my career is not over.”

The 10-time All-Star left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.

On Wednesday, Angels trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition, saying it’s something Trout “has to manage not just through the rest of the season.”

“I got back and my phone was blowing up: `My career is over,”‘ Trout said, smiling at the absurdity of the overreactions he’d been seeing online. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”

Trout has been examined by Dr. Robert Watkins III, a top back specialist and the co-director of the Marina Spine Clinic in Los Angeles, and received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results.

He has a follow-up visit next week and “we’ll go from there,” he said, though he has every intention of being back this year.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

The Angels have had no discussions about shutting him down.

“I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to make that decision,” Frostad said. “He’s going to have a follow-up here once we get back and we’ll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.”

Trout, the second-highest paid player in the game at $37.1 million, had been enjoying a nice bounce-back season after a calf injury limited him to just 36 games last season. He was hitting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games, a rare bright spot in what has been a dismal season for the Angels.

“He’s been a great teammate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s been the dugout, helping out his teammate – he’s obviously a good sounding board for a lot of young players. For them to have him here and know that he’s supporting them is huge, I’m sure, for some younger guys.”

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.