Braves superstar outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL last July 10 and, as a result, missed the rest of the season following surgery. He watched as his teammates went on to win the World Series, going 44-28 in the second half and never facing elimination in the postseason.
Acuña is now on the comeback trail. Throughout the winter we've only really been able to see a few videos shared to social media and, thanks to the lockout, we went months without getting a definitive update from the team. Sunday, Marly Rivera of ESPN provided the first one of the spring on Acuña's rehab.
I spoke to Ronald Acuña's trainers at the Alex Salazar Academy in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Acuña is hopeful for a May return after rehabbing and working out extensively in the winter. Of course, all depends on his progress this spring. Video of Acuña’s BP:https://t.co/qblLf8WmcJ— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 13, 2022
With the wording "hopeful," I'd say that pretty much rules out any of April and the most optimistic timeline has Acuña joining the Braves on May 1. It's more likely it'll be sometime later in the month. Any setbacks could take that month off the table, too.
When Acuña is in the lineup, he's one of the best and most electric players in all of baseball. He was en route to the best season of his career before going down last season. In 82 games, he hit .283/.394/.596 (155 OPS+) with 19 doubles, 24 homers, 52 RBI, 72 runs, 17 steals and 3.6 WAR.
As things stand, the Braves have Ozuna, Duvall, Guillermo Heredia and Cristian Pache as outfield options before Acuña is able to return, so this is definitely an area with a question mark right now. They also have to fill the DH spot and currently have a gigantic question mark at first base with Freddie Freeman still lingering in free agency.
Acuña's return to the lineup certainly answers one question for the Braves, and it looks like it could happen at some point in May.