Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., just eight months removed from a torn ACL, says he wants to play in the reigning champions’ season opener but will defer to the team’s medical staff.
Acuna estimated he’s at 95% when asked Monday where he is with his power and strength. The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year said he’s resumed baserunning and defense drills but will wait for the green light from trainers and medical staff before returning to game action.
« If it was up to me, I’d say I’d be ready for Opening Day, » he said through a translator. « But we all know it’s not my decision. So either way, I’m just going to be ready. »
Acuna said the rehab process has been difficult, especially since the knee injury sidelined him through Atlanta’s World Series championship run last year.
Atlanta hasn’t put a timeline on Acuna’s return, but his trainers recently told ESPN’s Marly Rivera that the two-time All-Star hopes to return in May. The Braves start their season on April 7 against the Cincinnati Reds.
Acuna, 24, was batting .283 with 24 home runs and 17 stolen bases in just 82 games last year before suffering the season-ending knee injury in July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.