Notes: Acuña update; Smyly ready to return

April 21st, 2021

As Braves manager Brian Snitker spoke to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, he indicated there is at least a chance will return to the lineup for Friday night's game against the D-backs at Truist Park.

“He's better today than he was yesterday,” Snitker said. “They'll treat him up all evening and again tomorrow. We'll see what happens on Friday.”

This is an encouraging development for Acuña, who exited Sunday night's win over the Cubs with abdominal strain. There was initially concern he would need a stint on the injured list. But an MRI on Monday showed just a mild strain.

Acuña hit off a tee and was cleared to complete some other baseball exercises on Wednesday afternoon. He was not available to play in the chilly temperatures during the Braves' series finale at Yankee Stadium. But he will be further evaluated on Thursday's off-day.

“I think he still feels it,” Snitker said. “But I think he's made significant progress over the last couple of days. So that's good.”

Acuña entered Wednesday leading the Majors in home runs (7), batting average (.419), OPS (1.373), slugging percentage (.887), extra-base hits (14), total bases (55) and runs (21).

Rotation injury update
Left-hander will be activated from the injured list to start Saturday's game against the D-backs. But lefty still hasn't been cleared to begin throwing to test the strained right hamstring incurred April 13 against the Marlins.

“Hamstrings are tough and everybody is different,” Snitker said. “We just have to be careful not to push him.”

Smyly needed a week to rest his left forearm, and there is still some hope Fried might need just a little more time. But it doesn’t sound like Mike Soroka will be joining the rotation anytime soon. Soroka's bid to return from right Achilles surgery was delayed two weeks ago, when he felt right shoulder discomfort during an intrasquad game at the alternate training site.

“He's so far away, it's not even relevant right now,” Snitker said.

Pache update
Top prospect Cristian Pache has been cleared to resume all baseball activities and work out at the team's alternate site. Pache was 4-for-30 with 13 strikeouts when he tweaked his left groin on April 13. So before activating the young center fielder, the Braves might make sure his legs and swing are both healthy.