Acuna avoids serious injury, expected for opener

MLB

The Atlanta Braves expect Ronald Acuna Jr. to be ready for Opening Day after a medical evaluation confirmed that the superstar outfielder does not have a serious knee injury.

The Braves announced Tuesday that Dr. Neal ElAttrache has confirmed the team’s initial diagnosis of irritation in the meniscus of Acuna’s right knee.

Acuna has been sidelined since Friday because of knee soreness, but the Braves say that the reigning National League MVP will “gradually increase baseball activities” and that they expect him to play in their March 28 season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Acuna tore his ACL in the same knee in 2021, and ElAttrache performed the surgical repair. The four-time All-Star traveled Monday to Los Angeles to seek ElAttrache’s opinion after an MRI revealed the irritation in his meniscus.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday that the team was “trying to be optimistic” about Acuna’s status but acknowledged that the six-time defending NL East champions were awaiting ElAttrache’s diagnosis.

Acuna, 26, is coming off a monster 2023 season, one that saw him become baseball’s first 40-70 player with 41 home runs and an NL-leading 73 steals. He also led the NL in on-base percentage (.416), OPS (1.012), hits (217) and runs (149).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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