After suffering a torn right ACL in July, Ronald Acuna Jr. hopes that he’ll be able to return to the Braves lineup by May, ESPN’s Marly Rivera reports (Twitter link). Acuna has been rehabbing in his native Venezuela, and for a glimpse at his progress, Rivera includes a video of Acuna taking one-handed swings during a light indoor batting practice session.
A 10-month recovery timeframe isn’t uncommon for such a severe ACL injury, though it seems as though Acuna’s timeline is still fluid. Naturally, both Acuna and the Braves aren’t going to take any unnecessary risks in trying to rush the superstar back to the field before he’s absolutely ready, even if that May projection stretches into June or beyond. More could be known once Acuna arrives at Atlanta’s spring camp, and manager Brian Snitker told reporters (including Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) today that “I know the reports are really good….I guess he’s worked his rear off.”
Acuna was on his way to perhaps his finest season yet at the time of his injury, as he hit .283/.394/.596 with 24 home runs over 360 plate appearances. The Braves’ response to Acuna’s injury has already become the stuff of legend, as rather than throw in the towel after losing their superstar, the Braves instead stocked up on outfielders (Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Joc Pederson) who all hit well down the stretch, carrying Atlanta to its first World Series title since 1995.
While last season’s run was magical, there is no doubt that the Braves will be better off with Acuna back in the fold. Duvall, Marcell Ozuna, Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, Guillermo Heredia, and Travis Demeritte comprise Atlanta’s top outfield options at the moment, so the team could try to make do with this group until Acuna is back, or perhaps look for more outfield help prior to Opening Day.