After a stint on the 10-day injured list with left wrist inflammation, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. returned to the lineup for Wednesday afternoon's game (GameTracker) against the New York Yankees. Facing one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole, you could presume that Acuna might have a tough return back at the plate. Well, you'd be wrong.
On a full count, the 22-year-old slugger took a 97.3 mph fastball from Cole yard in his first at-bat back from the IL. This one's worth admiring:
Turns out, Acuna's return from the IL resulted in the longest home run of his career and the longest home run by a Braves player in five years. It also registered for both the hardest-hit and longest homer allowed by Cole, according to Statcast. The recorded exit velocity was 114 mph while the total distance on the blast was 473 feet.
Furthermore, Acuna's 473-foot homer stands as the second-farthest distance on a home run this season, behind only Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton who hit a 483-foot home run in July.
"I feel good," Acuna told reporters prior to Wednesday's game. "I'm happy to be back doing what I love. I'm ready to give 100 percent to the team."
Before he hit the IL two weeks ago, Acuna was hitting .258/.372/.515 (132 OPS+) on the season. The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year was having a particularly impressive August before his wrist injury shut him down, recording eight walks, three doubles, nine RBI and four home runs to go along with a .364/488/.818 slash line in his first 33 at-bats this month.