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Ronald Acuña Jr. benched for lack of hustle


Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was benched for lack of hustle during Sunday afternoon’s series finale at home against the Dodgers. With Max Fried on second base and no outs in the bottom of the third inning, Acuña hit a deep fly ball to center field off of Tony Gonsolin. Acuña thought it was a home run, so he didn’t run hard out of the batter’s box. It was not, in fact, a home run; the ball stayed in the field of play and Acuña had to settle for a long single. Fried went to third base.

Acuña was later caught stealing and the Braves didn’t end up scoring in the inning. Before the top of the fifth inning, manager Brian Snitker took Acuña out of the game for his lack of effort. Adam Duvall entered the game in left field while Rafael Ortega moved from left to center. It proved to be fortuitous as Ortega would crank out a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the sixth.

Acuña, 21, was 1-for-2 on the afternoon before his early exit. He entered Sunday’s action with outstanding numbers batting .295/.375/.537 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 104 runs scored, and 29 stolen bases in 576 plate appearances. Snitker, however, is showing that he will put his foot down regardless of one’s stature.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.