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Acuna could begin rehab assignment soon

Phenom will work out at Braves' ST complex before heading to Minor League affiliate
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. flashed a bright smile as he shook Braves manager Brian Snitker's hand and said, "Ready to go."

Acuna has uttered this phrase a few times over the past week. But it seemingly gained more meaning Saturday, when the Braves' 20-year-old outfielder tested his left knee with a variety of baserunning drills that he completed while attempting to simulate game speed.

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ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. flashed a bright smile as he shook Braves manager Brian Snitker's hand and said, "Ready to go."

Acuna has uttered this phrase a few times over the past week. But it seemingly gained more meaning Saturday, when the Braves' 20-year-old outfielder tested his left knee with a variety of baserunning drills that he completed while attempting to simulate game speed.

View Full Game Coverage

While Acuna is close to being cleared to start playing Minor League rehab games, he will first spend the next few days working out at the Braves' Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He'll be evaluated daily as he progresses through a variety of drills with many of the team's recent Draft picks, who are preparing to begin their professional careers.

At some point next week, the Braves will have a feel for when Acuna could be sent to begin playing in Minor League games.

"He'll get all the defensive reps and probably face some live pitching," Snitker said. "They'll be able to amp up his workouts better down there than what we can. It's really a perfect scenario as they begin their mini-camps and getting guys ready to go play."

The Braves took a cautious approach as Acuna spent the past week reintroducing himself to baseball activities. But they turned him loose with these latest tests, which seemingly prove he has recovered from the mild left anterior cruciate sprain he suffered in a Braves win May 27 at Fenway Park.

Acuna remains the Majors' No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. He batted .265 with five home runs and a .779 OPS in 29 games before sustaining the injury on an infield single.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.