Braves star Acuña out for season after tearing knee vs. Miami

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MIAMI  — Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a complete tear of the ACL in his right knee during Atlanta’s 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.

An MRI showed the severity of the injury and the Braves made the announcement shortly before midnight, finishing the year for one of the most dynamic players in the majors.

Hours earlier, Acuna had tears in his eyes as he was carted off the field at Marlins Park.

Acuna landed awkwardly on his right leg after jumping on the warning track in right field trying to catch a drive from Jazz Chisholm Jr. in the fifth inning. He slammed into the outfield wall and crumbled on the warning track, immediately grabbing his right knee while Chisholm sprinted for an inside-the-park homer.

Acuna tried to walk off but dropped back to the ground in shallow right field. A trainer tended to him while a cart was retrieved, and concerned teammates gathered quietly around him.

Tears welled in the 23-year-old’s eyes as he waited. When the cart pulled around to the nearby warning track, he had to be helped over and did not put any weight on his right leg.

“He’s in a lot of pain, I can tell you that. It’s a tough break for the team and for him,” manager Brian Snitker said after the game.

Acuna had been slated to start in the outfield for the NL All-Star team in Tuesday’s game, his third appearance. He is hitting .283 with 24 home runs and 52 RBIs for the three-time defending NL East champions, who are four games behind the first-place New York Mets.

Braves pitcher Max Fried gave up three straight hits after seeing Acuna get hurt.

“You never like to see one of your teammates come up injured after trying to make a great play,” Fried said. “It’s obviously very unfortunate, but you have to stay with the task at hand and finish the game.”

Chisholm at first thought Acuna was going to make the catch and didn’t realize the severity of the injury until after he crossed home plate.

“A guy like that, him getting injured, the baseball world is going to miss him if he’s out for a long time,” Chisholm said right after the game. “Hopefully he gets better.”

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.