Ronald Acuña Jr. will return to the Atlanta Braves roster sooner rather than later.
The Atlanta Braves should get outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. back in time to start the second month of the season.
Atlanta’s most talented player hasn’t played in a major game since tearing his cruciate ligament in the warning lane in Miami just before last season’s All-Star game. While his devastating knee injury could have signaled the end of the season for Atlanta, general manager Alex Anthopoulos made a series of trades to reshape the Braves’ outfield, culminating in a great World Series title.
According to The Athletic’s David O’Brien, Acuña began playing in extended spring training games as of Friday.
Depending on the weather in North Port, Fla., Acuña could begin his first rehab assignment on Tuesday. If the weather stinks, the Braves may choose to keep him in Florida for a few more days before he begins his first rehab stint at an affiliated club.
Assuming Acuña can start his first rehab assignment on Tuesday, he has until May 1 to be recalled.
Ronald Acuña Jr. injury update: Atlanta Braves OF can start rehab on Tuesday
No, Atlanta won’t push Acuña back into the big league club. While the Braves were only so-so out of goal, Atlanta knows this is a long game if the franchise looks to win its fifth straight NL East crown and push for a possible World Series repeat. Although Atlanta’s outfield defense was pathetic earlier in the season, Acuña is expected to switch to DH after his arrival.
Once Acuña is recalled, that largely means Alex Dickerson’s time at the big league level in Atlanta is over. Acuña will serve as the DH while working his way back to presumably play right field. Once he’s able to fill his position, it means Marcell Ozuna will play more games exclusively in the DH role. Eddie Rosario would then probably step into left field as well.
The Braves may have one of the best rosters in baseball, but remember they went almost a year without their most talented player. Though Acuña may still need some time to return to the MVP level many fans are accustomed to, his return will be celebrated by Braves Country as Atlanta will have another dynamic player terrorizing the NL.
Once Acuña returns to the Braves, Atlanta will be as close to its full strength as it gets this year.
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