Braves fans have been on the edge of their seats regarding their team’s best player, Ronald Acuña, who was left out of the lineup Friday. The team decided to hold him out again Saturday due to his sore groin and then scheduled him for an MRI. Braves Country was obviously concerned with the outcome of the MRI, which turned out great for the face of the franchise. It revealed nothing that would force him to be shut down for an extended period of time.
The nagging injury with Acuña rightfully worries fans, but I’m not overly concerned just yet. Missing ten months of baseball because of a torn ACL — 73 games last season and 19 this year — isn’t ideal. However, prior to that injury, he’s been pretty rock solid in terms availability.
Acuña has only been on the injured list three times since 2018. He missed 27 games in 2018 after suffering a sprained knee and back contusion, missed nine games in 2019 with wrist inflammation, and then the torn ACL last year. The trend of Acuña being hurt while attempting to make circus plays motivated Jeff Schultz of The Athletic to ponder if his style of play is the reason for the injuries.
The short answer: no.
Acuña is great because of the moxie and flare he plays with, and nobody knows this better than the man himself.
“I think the best thing I can do is to keep playing the way I play the game,” Acuña told Schultz. “If I try to do anything different, it would just diminish the game and it would diminish the way I play.”
Obviously, the team sees things differently. “You gotta be careful because you don’t want him to get hurt because he’s being careful. You gotta let him go. You just hope we get him back there,” Brian Snitker told Schultz.
“Yeah, because he plays with his hair on fire. He plays the thing hard. He’s done a really good job managing the (comeback from a knee injury), too. He’s gotten hot, he’s on base a lot, he wants to run, making plays in the outfield. Probably as he gets older and matures, he’ll probably need to scale back some of that a little bit because of the wear and tear on his body.” The Braves manager added when asked about them getting accustomed to these trends. “At his age, he doesn’t know anything but full speed ahead. But God bless him.”
The Braves are a better team when their best player is on the field. That’s obvious. But what makes Acuña one of the best baseball players in the world is the fearlessness he plays with. There are clear precautions Acuña can take to ensure his health, but they don’t need to come at the expense of the way he plays the game.
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