Mike Trout talks World Baseball Classic, back injury

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Trout said he regrets not playing in the 2017 Classic — which the U.S. won for the first time — adding that it was always his goal to play for Team USA. He said he has most of the preparations done 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. Ariz., not far from the club’s facility in Tempe.

The 31-year-old Trout also added that his back is fine, as he missed more than a month between mid-July and mid-August with the injury last season. He didn’t show any bad results after 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 was over, I didn’t really feel anything in my back,” Trout said. “It’s been four months without a problem. I felt it a little bit when I first came back, but I held it in pretty well. You just need to keep the same routine in the weight room and warm up your body and make sure all the surrounding back muscles are strengthened.

Trout communicated frequently with general manager Peri Minassian during the offseason and likes what he’s been able to do this winter.

“I think Perry has done a great job,” Trout said. “We just brought a few pieces that were missing last year.”

Trout also talked about the fun possibility of facing his superstar teammate Shuhei Ohtani in the World Baseball Classic. Team Japan is in Group B and Team USA is in Group C, so the first meeting between them will be in the semifinals. But it’s something that was both talked about last season and made for an epic run.

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“We talked about it last year because I knew he was going to do it,” Trout said. Every time he plays with us, I get a front row seat. It’s too bad every person I talk to says they don’t want to be in the box. Interesting, I’m looking forward to it. “He’s a good friend of mine, so it’s going to be interesting.”

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