Sunday, May 22, 2022

WATCH: Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. falls down on first home run since suffering ACL injury last July

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USATSI

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. launched his first home run since returning from the torn ACL that he suffered last July Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers (GameTracker). That injury, by the way, prematurely ended his season, preventing him from partaking in the Braves’ World Series run last fall.

Acuña delivered his home run against Milwaukee’s left-handed starter Eric Lauer in the bottom of the fourth inning. According to Statcast’s data, the ball exited the bat traveling at 111.7 mph and carried some 450 feet. Acuña evidently generated such force that he even lost his footing after completing his swing, causing him to stumble and land on the ground on his back side.

Take a look:

Here’s that same swing from a side angle:

Friday night’s blast was Acuña’s first against big-league competition since July 7, 2021. On that day, he hit a solo home run versus Will Crowe of the Pittsburgh Pirates. (He suffered the ACL injury a few days later, on July 10.)

Acuña entered the night having struggled in his first six games back. In 28 plate appearances, he’d batted .200/.286/.240 (51 OPS+) with a double and two stolen bases. He had struck out 11 times and drawn just two walks. 

Acuña’s struggles are understandable given his layoff and his abbreviated rehab stint. He appeared in all of six minor-league games before being activated. Fittingly, Friday night’s game was the contest the Braves had originally circled for his return. Atlanta chose to bring him back earlier once another starting outfielder, Eddie Rosario, went on the injured list because he required eye surgery. 

The Braves could use a hearty and hale and locked-in Acuña if they want to make up for some early season struggles. The Braves entered Friday night’s game with a 12-15 record on the year, putting them 6 ½ games back of the New York Mets in the National League East.

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