Ronald Acuña Jr. will be returning to the Atlanta Braves lineup sooner rather than later.
The Atlanta Braves should be getting back outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in time for the start of the second month of the season.
Atlanta’s most talented player has not played in a game that mattered since tearing his ACL on the warning track down in Miami right before last season’s All-Star Game. While his devastating knee injury could have signaled season over for Atlanta, general manager Alex Anthopoulos made a flurry of trades to revamp the Braves’ outfield, culminating in a magnificent World Series title.
According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, Acuña has begun playing in extended spring training games as of Friday.
Depending on how the weather goes in North Port, Florida, Acuña could begin his first rehab assignment by Tuesday. If the weather stinks, the Braves may opt to keep him in Florida for a few more days before commencing his first rehab assignment with an affiliate club.
Assuming Acuña can begin his first rehab assignment on Tuesday, he may be recalled by May 1.
Ronald Acuña Jr. injury update: Atlanta Braves OF may begin rehab on Tuesday
No, Atlanta is not going to rush back Acuña to the big-league club. While the Braves have only been so-so out of the gate, Atlanta knows this is a long game if the franchise wants to win its fifth NL East crown in a row and push for a potential World Series repeat. Though the Atlanta outfield defense has been pitiful to start the season, the expectation is Acuña is going to DH upon arrival.
Once Acuña gets recalled, it largely means Alex Dickerson’s time at the big-league level in Atlanta is over with. Acuña will serve as the DH while working his way back towards playing presumably right field. Once he can man his position, it will mean Marcell Ozuna will begin to play more games exclusively in the DH role. Eddie Rosario would then presumably kick over into left field as well.
While the Braves have one of the best rosters in baseball, keep in mind that they have been without their most talented player for the better part of a year. Though Acuña may need some more time to get back to playing at the MVP level many fans are accustomed to, his return will be celebrated by Braves Country, as Atlanta will have one more dynamic player to terrorize the NL.
Once Acuña returns to the Braves, Atlanta will be as close to full strength as they can be this year.