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Canadian Soroka right at home on the road

Prospect pitches lights out in 2 innings Tuesday; Acuna extends hit streak to 7 games
Special to MLB.com

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Braves right-hander and native Canadian Mike Soroka felt right at home among all the maple leafs around Dunedin Stadium on Tuesday. The 20-year-old responded with a near flawless outing in a 5-1 win against the Blue Jays.

"Certainly felt like it with the Canadian national anthem, so it was special to get out there and hear that again," Soroka said. "I know how many Canadians are in the stands, so it almost felt like a home crowd."

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Braves right-hander and native Canadian Mike Soroka felt right at home among all the maple leafs around Dunedin Stadium on Tuesday. The 20-year-old responded with a near flawless outing in a 5-1 win against the Blue Jays.

"Certainly felt like it with the Canadian national anthem, so it was special to get out there and hear that again," Soroka said. "I know how many Canadians are in the stands, so it almost felt like a home crowd."

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The Braves' No. 3 prospect -- and No. 31 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline -- faced the minimum in two scoreless frames. Soroka, who remains a long-shot candidate for the rotation, allowed a leadoff single to Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk in the fifth, but was quickly able to erase the runner with a double play. He capped off his afternoon by striking out the final two batters he faced in the sixth.

"Man, it was crisp, live, the whole package," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's why we are excited around here, because of guys like that."

It was the first time that Soroka had faced the Jays since he appeared in an exhibition game as a high schooler playing for the Canadian Junior National Team three years ago.

"This time I felt right at home, so it was really awesome," he said.

Injury update
Outfielder Ronald Acuna showed no ill effects after being hit with a Trevor Williams fastball in the left buttock the day before. Acuna, who left Monday's game against the Pirates early as a precautionary measure after being plunked, was back in the lineup on Tuesday afternoon.

The Braves' No. 1 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, continued his torrid spring, going 1-for-3. Acuna, who got the start in center field, legged out an infield single in his first at-bat. It was his seventh straight game with a hit this spring, and his 11th hit in his last 17 at-bats.

He is batting .423 this spring with a .500 on-base percentage, both tops in the Grapefruit League among batters with at least 25 plate appearances.

Video: Andruw Jones on working with prospect Ronald Acuna

McGriff in the house
The Crime Dog, Fred McGriff, was back patrolling the sidelines of Dunedin Stadium, the place where he spent every Spring Training from 1986-1990 with the Jays, on Tuesday. The longtime first baseman is serving as a special assistant to Atlanta's baseball operations department this spring.

McGriff said he will be in the Braves' big league camp for about a week before spending "four or five days" with each of the team's affiliates.

"Gonna check out the young kids," McGriff said. "That's where the player development side comes in, teaching the young kids how to play the game."

One of those young players he is eager to work with is Acuna.

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"Every level he's played at he's had success," McGriff said of the star-in-the-making. "And he's been killing the ball this Spring Training."

McGriff said that Acuna's skills are ready for the big leagues, he just needs to earn a spot. McGriff compared it to when he was a youngster coming up in the Blue Jays organization and trying to find playing time in a crowded lineup that included veterans Willie Upshaw and Cecil Fielder.

Position battles
Danny Santana continued to force his way into the conversation for the team's super utility role with a single in his only at-bat off the bench against Toronto. It was his sixth hit in his last seven at-bats, and pushed his average to .500 on the spring.

The 27-year-old Santana, who came up through the Twins organization as a middle infielder, has seen action at all three outfield positions this spring, including center field on Tuesday.

Up next
Atlanta will have its first off-day of the spring on Wednesday. The team will return to action on Thursday when it hosts the Astros in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. Lefty Scott Kazmir will look to continue his scoreless streak to start the spring as he squares off against Houston's Francis Martes. The game will be broadcast live on Gameday Audio.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna, Mike Soroka