Acuña, Markakis back; Anderson debuts

August 25th, 2020

ATLANTA -- will be back in the lineup when Braves top pitching prospect Ian Anderson makes his Major League debut in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader against the Yankees on Wednesday.

Game 1 was actually slated to occur on Tuesday night. But rain postponed the series opener and created the twin bill, which will encompass the entirety of the Interleague set. National League Cy Young candidate Max Fried will start the nightcap, which will begin 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game at Truist Park.

The Braves announced Acuña had been activated from the 10-day injured list and Anderson’s contract was selected late Tuesday morning. Right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint and catcher Alex Jackson were optioned to the team’s alternate training site to create space on the active roster.

Anderson, who was taken with the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, produced a 3.38 ERA over 26 combined starts at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2019. He ranks as MLB’s No. 43 prospect and the No. 3 prospect within Atlanta’s system, per MLB Pipeline.

Now that he has arrived, Anderson will attempt to live up to the hype, as will Acuña after being sidelined since Aug. 11 with left wrist inflammation. The 22-year-old outfielder battled discomfort for a week, but realized relief as he took batting practice in pain-free fashion on Saturday and Sunday.

“I feel good,” Acuña said. “I’m glad to be back doing what I love. I’m ready to give 100 percent to the team.”

Acuña may have injured his wrist diving back into a base during the home series played against the Blue Jays from Aug. 4-6. He felt some discomfort during the weekend set that followed in Philadelphia. In fact, he could feel something in his wrist when he hit three homers during a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies on Aug. 9.

But he did not inform the Braves of the discomfort until a few hours before an Aug. 11 game at Yankee Stadium. Looking back, he thinks he might have further aggravated the wrist while checking his swing against Phillies ace Aaron Nola on Aug. 10.

“It was [initially] just some discomfort,” Acuña said. “It wasn’t really pain. I wanted to play through it. But as we worked our way to the Yankees series [at Yankee Stadium], it turned from discomfort to pain.”

Pache optioned
The Braves optioned top prospect as a corresponding move to bring activated from the COVID-19 injured list on Tuesday. Markakis will likely play right field and bat sixth in Wednesday’s first game.

Markakis was placed on the list on Aug. 18 as a precautionary measure after he was potentially exposed to COVID-19. The veteran outfielder tested negative multiple times over the past week. League safety guidelines dictate players must test negative for COVID-19 twice, with those tests being administered at least 24 hours apart.

Pache was brought to the Majors earlier than the Braves had planned. The talented young outfielder was promoted because when Markakis was deemed unavailable, he was the only non-catcher among the available position players on Atlanta’s 40-man roster.

After going 1-for-4 in his MLB debut against the Phillies on Friday night, Pache was used as a late-inning defensive replacement on Saturday. Those served as his only two appearances during a week-long first stint at the big league level.

Albies update
Braves manager Brian Snitker said ’ previously ailing right wrist did not provide any problems as the second baseman took swings from both sides of the plate on Tuesday.

“He’s going through his hitting progressions,” Snitker said. “Everything was good. When they turn him loose, we’ll put him in there.”

Albies has been out since Aug. 4 with a right wrist bone contusion. As recently as last week, he was still experiencing discomfort while swinging from the right side of the plate.

“I’ve told him not to rush back and just be patient and that if he’s feeling any discomfort, he shouldn’t rush anything,” Acuña said. “The team is going to be here, and we’ll pick you up while you’re gone. So just take your time, get healthy and come back when you’re ready.”