Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. returns to lineup for first time since tearing ACL, steals two bases vs. Cubs

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Thursday night the safeguarding World Series champ Atlanta Braves invited super star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. back to the lineup for the very first time because he tore the ACL in his ideal knee last July 10. Acuña was triggered earlier than anticipated (the Braves were supposedly targeting early May), however he felt excellent throughout his minors rehabilitation project, so Atlanta brought him back.

“It feels like getting called up to the big leagues again,” Acuña told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman prior to Thursday’s video game. “… “Obviously, I wish to be the baseball gamer I’ve constantly been. I wish to be the gamer that heads out there, plays hard, and attempts to have an excellent experience with the fans.”

Acuña, who is still only 24, was of course given a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat. He went 1 for 5 with a clean single to right field from his customary leadoff spot in his 2022 debut. Acuña also stole two bases, which is not something you expect from a player coming off a torn ACL. He did say he wants to be the same player he was before the injury though.

Prior the injury last season Acuña was an MVP prospect, if not the frontrunner. He owned a .283/.394/.596 batting line with 24 crowning achievement and 17 taken bases in 82 video games. The 2018 Rookie of the Year got MVP votes every year from 2018-20 and flirted with a 40/40 season in 2019 (41 homers and 37 takes).

The Braves were 4 1/2 video games back in the NL East and 7 video games back of a wild card area when Acuña suffered his injury last season. GM Alex Anthopoulos reacted by strongly remaking his outfield at the trade due date, getting Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario, and World Series MVP Jorge Soler in different offers.

Including Thursday’s win (ATL 5, CHC 1), the Braves are 9-11 in the early going this season. Their outfielders were striking a combined .193/.262/.340 entering into Thursday, so they definitely require Acuña’s production.

Acuña went 7 for 19 (.368) with a double and 3 taken bases in 6 Triple-A rehabilitation video games prior to being triggered.



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