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Acuna (back) expected to return Monday

Snitker: 'He'll be fine tomorrow and the rest of the week'
@cdenicola13
May 5, 2019

MIAMI -- Braves left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. did not play in Sunday’s 3-1, 10-inning win over the Marlins after exiting Saturday’s game at Marlins Park with back tightness. While Acuna was hopeful he wouldn't miss any additional time following Saturday’s 9-2 win, the Braves proceeded with caution as they

MIAMI -- Braves left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. did not play in Sunday’s 3-1, 10-inning win over the Marlins after exiting Saturday’s game at Marlins Park with back tightness.

While Acuna was hopeful he wouldn't miss any additional time following Saturday’s 9-2 win, the Braves proceeded with caution as they played a matinee game after a night game, and had a cross-country flight to Los Angeles.

"He was going to be the next one, if we got right down to it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Acuna's availability on Sunday. "He was fine, he wanted to play, he could've played, and it was just more wanting to get in front of it. He'll be fine tomorrow and the rest of the week. It was going to be a last resort that I used him today."

Acuna appeared to feel something after sharply singling to center for his fourth hit of the game in the seventh inning on Saturday. Snitker and head athletic trainer George Poulis visited Acuna once he reached first base. Acuna remained on the basepaths, but Charlie Culberson replaced him in left field to start the bottom of the seventh.

“It's been on and off,” Acuna said via an interpreter after the game. “I've felt it for a while, so it wasn't today. Today, it just kind of grabbed at me after I had a quick swing like that and got out of the box pretty quickly. That’s when I felt it. But I felt good coming into today, as always.”

The Braves are making a concerted effort to give their regulars scheduled days off so they don't wear down over the course of the long season. The only other time so far this season that Acuna hasn't been in the starting lineup was on Wednesday in Atlanta, though he did appear as a pinch-hitter.

Asked on Saturday whether he would be good for Sunday afternoon’s series finale, Acuna said: “Of course. Always. Tomorrow and every day, from here on out.” But when the starting lineup was announced, Matt Joyce was in left field, leaving Acuna on the bench.

Gausman's return to the mound

Right-hander Kevin Gausman, whose start on Friday came to an abrupt end, will open Atlanta's three-game series against the Dodgers on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Gausman was ejected on his 28th pitch of Friday's win over the Marlins for throwing behind pitcher Jose Urena.

"The way I look at it is that was my bullpen," Gausman said. "Just use that as a tune-up, really."

The seven-year veteran said this marks the first time in his career he will have started that many times in so few days. Asked if Gausman will have any restrictions, Snitker said no.

"We'll keep an eye on him and see how he goes about it," Snitker said. "He didn’t throw many [pitches], but he did warm up. Obviously we'll keep an eye on him and see how the game plays."

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.