Mike Trout hand injury update makes LA Angels fans exhale, then worry again

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Good news for LA Angels fans: Mike Trout's left hand remains unbroken after taking the business end of a Spencer Patton slider on Sunday afternoon.

Bad news for LA Angels fans: the onus is now on Trout to determine his own return date, a process he's undertaken with extreme caution in recent years.

Initial optimism surrounded Trout's exit from Sunday's game, with those close to the situation claiming that Trout collapsing and yelping in pain wasn't indicative of the long-term prognosis of the injury. The all-world outfielder was sent for further tests overnight, but word from the Angels was that disaster had been avoided and no fracture was detected.

On Monday afternoon, Trout told the gathered Angels beat writers that a battery of tests came to the same conclusion: no broken bones, still a lot of pain. Per doctors' orders, Trout is officially day-to-day, and can return to action as soon as he's able to tolerate the pain emanating from his hand.

And therein lies the issue: how long does the fan base have to wait for a pain-free Trout? And is a compromised Trout gritting his teeth and battling through the pain worth the at-bats?

LA Angels outfielder Mike Trout has to choose his own return date based on pain tolerance

So...how long are we going to be waiting, here?

Off to a hot start powered by -- what else? -- a relentless offense, the LA Angels have three games left with the Astros on their current roadtrip before heading back home and taking on the Baltimore Orioles for another trio after an off day on Thursday.

Would anyone be shocked if Trout sat out the Astros games to get right, then played the likely-to-be-a-warmup Orioles series day-to-day?

In a sign of more optimism, Trout did indicate that he'd flown to Houston with the rest of his teammates on Sunday night. He did it the only way he knows how: with five, glorious airplane emojis all lined up.

Trout's torn calf muscle, suffered in May of 2021, was shrouded in secrecy most of the way and took his entire season along with it, even when it seemed to many outsiders that his return was just around the corner.

This time around, the injury is transparently less dangerous to his long-term future, and Trout's body remains structurally intact. Even if the two sides agree to hit pause, it shouldn't be too long.