The Atlanta Braves are hopeful to have star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. back in their lineup on May 6, according to Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal stressed that May 6 is a "loose" target, meaning that it isn't set in stone by any means. Previously, Acuña's timetable had been limited to guesses of an "early May" return.
Acuña is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate, per David O'Brien of The Athletic. Those can last up to 20 days for hitters, meaning that short of another injury Acuña will have to debut around May 7.
Acuña, 24 years old, tore his ACL last July, wiping out the remainder of his 2021 season. In 82 games, he batted .283/.394/.596 (156 OPS+) with 24 home runs and 17 stolen bases. The injury prevented Acuña from partaking in the postseason, meaning he missed the entirety of the Braves' improbable run to a World Series championship.
Acuña has solidified himself as one of the best players in the league over the course of four seasons in the majors. For his career, he's posted a 138 OPS+ and has made a pair of All-Star Games. In 2019, his last full season, he recorded 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases, showing off a dynamic power-speed combination.
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Acuña is expected to see action in center field once he returns to the lineup. So far this season, the Braves have mostly relied upon a starting outfield of Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario.
The Braves have started this season with a 4-5 record, tying them for second in the National League East with the Washington Nationals. The Braves are attempting to become the first MLB team to repeat as World Series champions in more than two decades.