HomeMLB RumorsRonald Acuna Jr. Exits Game With Apparent Knee Injury

Ronald Acuna Jr. Exits Game With Apparent Knee Injury

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Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. exited today’s game against the Pirates in the first inning due to an apparent injury suffered while running the bases, and he limped off the field while gesturing to his left knee. The Braves later termed the issue “left knee soreness.” Of note, the ACL tear that required surgery during the 2021 campaign affected Acuna’s right knee.

The severity of the injury is not yet clear and likely won’t be known in detail until after the game, but it appears likely that Acuna will miss at least some time due to the issue given his history of lower half injuries. In addition to the aforementioned ACL tear in his right leg, Acuna has also suffered a left knee injury before in his career. During his rookie season back in 2018, the phenom suffered a left knee contusion and mild sprain of his left ACL that kept him out of action for one month.

An absence of virtually any length for Acuna would be a major blow to the Braves on the heels of a tough month of May that’s seen them fall to second place in the NL East, seven games back of the surging Phillies for the division crown. That’s particularly true given the offensive funk the club has found itself in this season; Atlanta’s hitters have collectively posted a wRC+ of just 88 in the month of May that leaves the Braves bottom-six among all major league clubs.

Acuna has been in the thick of that slump. It’s been a rather pedestrian start to the season for the 26-year-old, as he’s posted a roughly league average .246/.348/.356 slash line in 221 trips to the plate entering play today. Despite those uninspiring numbers, there’s no denying Acuna’s ability to carry an offense when he’s at his best; the star outfielder is of course just one season removed from a historic 2023 campaign that saw him win the NL MVP award while crushing 40 home runs, swiping 70 stolen bases, and leading the major leagues with a .416 on-base percentage.

Acuna’s offensive malaise in 2024 after a standout 2023 season is shared between much of the Braves’ lineup. Austin Riley has not appeared in a game in two weeks amid an intercostal injury but sported a wRC+ of just 102 when healthy enough to appear in games, and other key pieces such as Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, and Michael Harris II have posted similarly pedestrian numbers at the plate this season after the club’s incredible 104-win campaign last year.

Looking at the potential roster impacts of Acuna’s injury, Adam Duvall and Jarred Kelenic are handling the corner outfield spots in Acuna’s absence this afternoon, though it’s possible the club could turn to Forrest Wall or J.P. Martinez to supply additional depth should Acuna require a trip to the injured list. It’s also possible that Acuna’s injury forces the Braves to make a decision regarding Riley’s injury, as the club has effectively been playing a man down for two weeks while he’s been unavailable and the club may not be able to afford the lack of production without Acuna’s bat in the lineup.

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