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.