Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, Brian Snitker inserted Ronald Acuña Jr. back in the lineup on Wednesday night, batting leadoff against the Colorado Rockies.
It will be the first game action for the dynamic Acuña since August 26 as the 24-year-old outfielder has been battling soreness in his right knee.
Acuña originally planned to be back in the opener of the series between the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night, but the soreness kept him out of the lineup.
Acuña was slotted into the lineup on Wednesday as Atlanta’s designated hitter, something that could be seen more in September.
What Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said about Ronald Acuña Jr.
Snitker must balance Acuña being in the lineup versus chancing any further soreness impacting his star player as Atlanta prepares for the postseason.
“It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s good enough to where he can start DHing again,” Snitker said before Wednesday’s game. “We’ll take it day to day.”
Snitker said that the part of Acuña’s running game is most impacted with the knee soreness.
“Stealing bases isn’t great, just the takeoff and a lot of it is slowing down, and that could be running in on balls and shutting it down, things like that irritate it pretty good.
“It’s better. It’s quieted down a lot since we last played him.”
Could Acuña potentially ease back on some of his plays in the outfield if Snitker were to reinsert him as a position player? Snitker said that wasn’t who Acuña was a player.
“It’s hard to do that,” Snitker said of his three-time All-Star playing at less than 100 percent in the outfield. “When a ball is hit, he is going to run in the outfield. He’s going to try to catch it. But if we just try and limit the stealing bases if we can, he’s been pretty good about managing it out of the box.”
Look for Acuña to work his way back into the lineup as Atlanta’s designated hitter, and potentially see time in the outfield, if his knee permits, as September moves along.