ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker created some relief when he indicated Ronald Acuña Jr. might be available to return to the lineup for Sunday night’s game against the Phillies.
This didn’t look like a possibility when Acuña exited Saturday night’s 8-7, 12-inning win writhing in pain. The Braves' outfielder created a scare when he appeared to be in serious pain after getting hit in the left hand by Sam Coonrod’s 97.8 mph fastball in the seventh inning.
But X-rays fortunately showed no fracture. The Braves described Acuña’s status as day to day with a bruised left pinky finger. But Snitker said the outfielder could make an immediate return as long as he feels good while hitting before Sunday’s game.
“He was in good shape when I saw him after the game,” Snitker said. "He just had a little band-aid on his pinky. I think you know we dodged a bullet.”
Acuña checked his swing, but enough of his left hand remained exposed for his pinky to be pushed into the bat. He immediately discarded his bat, slammed his batting helmet to the ground and bent over in obvious pain. He was quickly escorted to the clubhouse after a brief evaluation.
Coonrod’s only two pitches to Acuña were up and in. This raised some eyebrows given this was the first time these two faced each other since the Braves star homered off the Phillies' reliever on April 11.
But with a runner already on base and Freddie Freeman on deck in a two-run game, this was more likely a case of Coonrod missing his mark while trying to jam Acuña.
Snitker said he did not view this as the time or place for retribution.
“What you consider is the situation in my opinion,” Snitker said. “You hate it when your guys get hit. I’m just glad nothing bad came with it."