Mike Trout talks World Baseball Classic, back injury

This story is excerpted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, Press here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.

Trout said he regretted not playing in the 2017 Classic — which the United States won for the first time — adding that it was always a goal to play for Team USA. He said he has most of the logistics worked out for spring training, as he will report to camp on Feb. 15 and work out with the Angels until March 7. He will then train with Team USA, which will host a camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, not far from the club’s Tempe facility.

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

“After the season was over, I didn’t feel anything in my back,” Trout said. “It hasn’t been a problem for four months. I felt it a little bit when I first came back, but I kept it up pretty well. You just have to keep the same routine in the weight room, warm up and make sure all the back muscles around it are strengthened.”

Trout has been in frequent communication with general manager Perry Minassian throughout the offseason and likes what he’s been able to do this winter.

“I think Perry did a great job,” Trout said. “I’m just putting in some pieces that we were missing last year.”

Trout also discussed the fun possibility of facing fellow superstar Shohei Ohtani in the World Baseball Classic. Team Japan is in Group B and Team USA is in Group C, so the earliest they could meet is in the semifinals. But it’s something that was talked about last season and would make for an epic matchup.

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“We talked about it last year because I knew he was going to do it,” Trout said. “I get a front row seat every time he performs with us. It’s pretty gross. Every person I talk to who confronts him says he doesn’t want to be in the box. It will be interesting. I can not wait. He’s one of my good friends, so it’s going to be fun.”

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