The early word was that Manny Machado wouldn’t need surgery after his scary knee injury with a week left in the season, but he has decided to go ahead and have reconstructive surgery on his MPFL, which will sideline him for 4-6 months.
The medial patellofemoral ligament, which stabilizes the kneecap, was damaged when Machado suffered a dislocated patella awkwardly stepping on the bag at first base. Machado could have come back without the surgery, but this will reduce the chances of future dislocations.
The news makes Machado iffy for the start of spring training, but he should still be ready for Opening Day if everything goes well.
The 21-year-old Machado hit .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles and 14 homers in 156 games before going down this year. He’s likely to be announced as the AL’s Gold Glove third baseman for his spectacular play at the hot corner.
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.