The last thing the Braves need at this point of the season, with nothing more to gain or lose in the standings, is an injury issue — least of all to a key player. In that light, it was rather concerning to see young star Ronald Acuna depart yesterday’s game early.
Per a club announcement at the time, Acuna was pulled owing to hip tightness. The team characterized the decision as precautionary. Of course, that’s something of a typical placeholding statement in such situations, so Braves fans would be forgiven for fearing worse.
Manager Brian Snitker made clear after the contest that the organization doesn’t see cause for alarm, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. “He’ll just be day to day,” says Snitker. “We’ll treat him up and see how he is tomorrow.”
Acuna was even more forceful on the point, saying he didn’t feel he needed to be removed and will be ready to go whenever he’s written back into the lineup. That’s just the sort of gung ho attitude you admire in a young player, but it’s also something the team needs to protect against with the postseason beckoning.
Indeed, the 21-year-old also indicated that this isn’t a new issue.
“I’ve been feeling it before. But I’m a warrior and I’m going to keep playing through these types of things. That’s just the way that I am. I was dealing with it and pushing through it. But eventually, it came to the point where it became a little more intolerable.”
Given that, it was surely wise of the Braves to take a cautious approach. Acuna is, after all, one of the team’s key players. Even if the hip isn’t a significant hindrance at the plate, it could conceivably limit him in the field and on the bases — where he derives significant value — or end up resulting in a more concerning health issue.