The Braves have set May 6 as a potential target date for Ronald Acuna Jr.’s return to the active roster, though manager Brian Snitker told reporters (including The Athletic’s David O’Brien) that there is plenty of flexibility built into that plan. Acuna is thus far three games into his minor league rehab assignment.
“Next week will be big because I think he’s scheduled to go lengthy defensive games, like 3 out of 4 days, something like that,” Snitker said. “At the end of next week they’ll have a really good read on probably where his body is.”
Acuna tore his right ACL last July 10, so it will be just shy of a 10-month absence if he does make his return for the May 6 game against the Brewers. Despite the severity of the injury and the obvious caution the Braves have taken with their superstar, Acuna’s rehab has gone about as smoothly as possible. Snitker even intimated that if Acuna’s next week of action goes particularly well, the outfielder might even be back on Atlanta’s roster prior to May 6.
The defending World Series champs have a 7-8 record heading into today’s game with the Marlins, in part due to an overall lack of production from the outfield. While Marcell Ozuna has hit well, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Guillermo Heredia, and Alex Dickerson (who has played mostly DH), have all struggled, so Acuna’s return to the everyday right field spot should immediately shore things up.
While it may be unfair to expect Acuna to immediately pick up where he left off in 2021, even a slightly lessened version of Acuna is still one of the game’s best players. The outfielder has done nothing but mash since debuting in 2018, and he was batting .283/.394/.596 with 24 homers in his first 360 plate appearances of the 2021 season before suffering his ACL tear.