Kendrys Morales hasn’t played since breaking his ankle on May 29, 2010, suffering numerous setbacks along the way, and the Angels first baseman still sounds iffy to be ready for Opening Day.
Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register reports that Morales “has been taking batting practice and has been cleared to start light jogging on a treadmill equipped with a harness that takes some of his weight off his legs.”
Plunkett notes that Morales advanced more or less that far last spring before undergoing a second surgery and missing the entire season, so his progress this time around isn’t exactly encouraging.
Or as Mike Scioscia put it: “I think we want to just tread lightly on this one and make sure that he’s along before you start to get excited about it.”
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.