Acuña has MRI on knee; expected to be ready for Opening Day

March 2nd, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- An MRI exam gave the Braves confidence will be ready for the start of the regular season. But the team won't have a definitive timeline until the reigning National League MVP travels to California to be evaluated by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday.

Acuña underwent the MRI after informing the Braves his right knee was sore on Friday. The images showed irritation around his right meniscus. ElAttrache was encouraged by what he saw from the imaging, but just to be safe, he suggested evaluating the Braves outfielder at his Los Angeles-area office.

"We expect him to be ready for Opening Day barring new information," Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos said. "It looks like irritation, but we're going to make sure we check all of the boxes."

Acuña strolled into the Braves' Spring Training facility before Saturday's 6-2 win over Toronto without any noticeable limp.

There really wasn't any indication Acuña was dealing with anything before he was removed from the lineup for Friday afternoon's game. He tweaked his right knee while in a rundown between second and third base during the third inning of Thursday's game against the Twins.

But the Braves right fielder remained in the game before being lifted with many of the other regulars after the fifth. He then spent Friday morning taking batting practice, signing autographs and doing interviews with MLB Network.

So, there really wasn't any indication of an ailment until the Braves scratched Acuña from the starting lineup less than an hour before Friday's game against the Orioles.

ElAttrache repaired this same knee after Acuña tore his right ACL two days before the 2021 All-Star break.

Acuña won his first National League MVP Award in 2023 after becoming the first player to hit 40-plus homers and steal at least 70 bases in one season. His historic season proved even more satisfying given the knee injury he had suffered two seasons earlier.