Braves being cautious with Acuna's knee

Club not rushing him despite rapid progression; Teheran in line to return Sunday

June 14th, 2018

ATLANTA -- has successfully progressed through the preliminary process of reacquainting himself to baseball activities. But the Braves have maintained a cautious approach with the young outfielder, who will test the strength and stability of his knee this weekend.

"We're going to be careful with him," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's got some boxes to check before he goes out. He's going to have to run the bases more than once."

Acuna will run the bases at a moderate pace Friday, then enhance his effort level while running them again Saturday. He'll also be asked to field grounders, throw to bases and complete other activities that place stress on his left knee, which was injured when his cleat got stuck in the dirt after an infield single May 27 at Fenway Park.

There was concern the outfielder, who ranks as MLB Pipeline's top prospect, might have suffered a season-ending injury. But an MRI performed the next day revealed he had a mild sprain of his left anterior cruciate ligament. It now looks like his disabled-list stint will consist of approximately four weeks.

"We'll see how he recovers after he cuts bases and does that kind of stuff," Snitker said. "They put him through really good workouts. He's doing all kinds of agility stuff. He feels great, but we have to make sure. As tight as we turn the nut, we're going to have to turn it again until we turn him loose."

If Acuna passes all the tests over the next couple days, he could begin a Minor League rehab assignment early next week, then possibly return to Atlanta's lineup at some point during the June 22-24 home series against the Orioles. But the Braves have not revealed a definitive timetable.

Acuna took batting practice on the field and completed various running exercises before Thursday night's series opener against the Padres. The 20-year-old phenom has been elevating his effort and activity level on a daily basis over the past week, and the Braves have monitored him closely to ensure he doesn't aggravate the injury.

Teheran set to return Sunday

completed a bullpen session in pain-free fashion on Thursday and is preparing to come off the disabled list for a Sunday afternoon start against the Padres.

"Unless something comes up between now and then, the plan is for him to start Sunday," Snitker said.

Teheran has been sidelined since his right thumb was jammed in a plate appearance June 4 in San Diego. His thumb reacted well as he threw a flurry of breaking balls Thursday. But the potential value of the short DL stint will truly be realized over the next few weeks and months as the veteran hurler attempts to avoid the nagging arm soreness that has caused his average fastball velocity to drop from 91.3 mph in 2017 to 89.2 mph this year.

Odds and ends

• The Braves remain hopeful Mike Foltynewicz will be ready to start Tuesday night's game in Toronto. Right triceps tightness limited Foltynewicz to five innings against the Mets on Tuesday.

will start Friday's game and will face the Padres on Saturday. By sending to the mound on regular rest Thursday, the Braves created an extra day of rest for McCarthy and Newcomb.