The Braves announced Thursday that they’ve activated Ronald Acuna Jr. from the disabled list and placed veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the 10-day DL due to tendinitis in his right knee. Atlanta also optioned righty Wes Parsons back to Triple-A Gwinnett just a day after he had his contract selected and recalled righty Matt Wisler from Gwinnett.
Acuna, 20, has been out since May 28 due to a knee contusion and a mild sprain of his left ACL, but he figures to return to an everyday role in left field, joining Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis in a productive Braves outfield. The game’s consensus top prospect to open the season, Acuna did nothing to suggest he wasn’t deserving of such high praise in his first taste of the Majors, hitting .265/.326/.453 with five homers and seven doubles through 129 plate appearances in spite of his youth.
McCarthy, soon to be 35, has had his share of struggles in Atlanta this year, compiling a 4.92 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.72 HR/9 and a 48 percent ground-ball rate. To McCarthy’s credit, most of the damage done against him came in a pair of brutal starts at the beginning of May, when he yielded 14 runs over a combined 8 1/3 innings. The righty pitched quite well in the month of April and, since that ugly pair of consecutive outings in May, has worked to a respectable 4.23 ERA with a pristine 35-to-6 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 frames.
[Related: Atlanta Braves depth chart]
With McCarthy going on the shelf and Mike Soroka now out until at least late August, the Braves’ rotation consists of Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran and Anibal Sanchez. Wisler, Max Fried, Luiz Gohara and Lucas Sims are among the options already on the 40-man roster that could step up and make some starts in lieu of McCarthy.
At 45-34, the Braves still hold the the lead of the NL East by two and a half games despite the fact that their play has slipped a bit as of late. Atlanta has played at a .500 clip this month and is 5-5 over its past 10 games, but neither the Nationals nor the Phillies have made up any substantial ground in the division during that time.