Braves rookie outfielder Ronald Acuña left yesterday’s game against the Red Sox after taking an ugly tumble after crossing first base. At the time he was listed as having “knee and back pain” pending further evaluation. That evaluation is now in.
The Braves announced a little bit ago that Acuña has a mild ACL sprain in his left knee and a left knee contusion. The exam also showed a lower back contusion. He will be placed on the disabled list and reevaluated at the end of the 10-day period.
That seems to be pretty decent news for Acuña and the Braves. Players who have taken headers at first base like that in the past — I’m thinking Bryce Harper and Kevin Kiermaier — have missed far more time.
Acuña is hitting .265/.326/.453 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and 19 runs scored in his first 129 big league plate appearances. Losing him will not be great for Atlanta, but losing him for a relatively short period will be manageable.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.