Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. is dealing with some right knee irritation – Metro US

Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. is dealing with some right knee irritation

Spring Training Preview Baseball
FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. hits a double during the third inning of Game 3 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Oct. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. This season, the Braves and stars like Acuna will try to finish the job after a disappointing early exit in last year’s playoffs. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. has some irritation around the meniscus in his surgically repaired right knee.

The reigning NL MVP had an MRI on Friday. He will be evaluated on Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who repaired the outfielder’s torn right ACL in July 2021.

The 26-year-old Acuña is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, but that timeline could change after he sees ElAttrache in California.

“Right now we’re trying to be optimistic,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters in Florida on Saturday. “Maybe just a couple of weeks or whatever, just to calm everything down. But honestly, I don’t know until we get what the doctor out there says.”

Acuña posted “ I’LL BE BACK ” on social media on Saturday.

Acuña led Atlanta to its sixth consecutive NL East title in 2023. The outfielder hit a career-best .337 with 41 homers, 106 RBIs and 73 steals in 159 games.

He got into a rundown between second and third in the third inning of Thursday’s 5-0 split-squad win against Minnesota. He was replaced before the start of the sixth and then was scratched from Atlanta’s lineup on Friday.

After a winter full of trade rumors, Dylan Cease made his first spring start for the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander allowed two hits in two scoreless innings against Texas in Surprise, Arizona.

“It’s hard to replicate that kind of intensity when you’re on the back fields,” Cease said. “It’s nice because recalibrating to that higher intensity is a whole another process in itself. It’s really good to get back out and get to high intensity stuff.”

Cease struck out one and walked one. His fastball was consistently in the high-90s, and he said his slider was “really sharp.”

It also was Cease’s first game action with veteran catcher Martin Maldonado, who agreed to a one-year contract with Chicago in January.

“You’ll never hear a bad thing about him, and throwing to him I know why,” Cease said. “He’s really great.”

Chicago lost 101 games last year, and Cease went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts. General manager Chris Getz has fielded trade offers for the pitcher, but a deal hasn’t materialized.

“I don’t even know if there are any (rumors) right now, but I don’t really care,” Cease said.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah felt some soreness during a bullpen session on Friday. He had an MRI that showed “no structural concern at all,” manager John Schneider said.

“He was throwing and kind of just said ‘Eh, it feels a little bit cranky,’ and just wanted to be extra careful at this point in camp,” Schneider told reporters in Florida.

Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts for Toronto in 2022. But he struggled last year, going 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA in 19 starts. He was optioned to the minors twice.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander hit three batters and threw just 17 of 38 pitches for strikes while working 1 2/3 innings in his first spring start on Tuesday.

“Didn’t really bounce back the way he wanted to after his start, so we’re kind of just taking it day to day right now,” Schneider said.

Boston Red Sox infielder Vaughn Grissom has been shut down because of a left groin strain. Manager Alex Cora told reporters in Florida that Grissom could miss the beginning of the regular season.

Grissom was acquired in a December trade with Atlanta that moved pitcher Chris Sale to the Braves. The 23-year-old Grissom hit .280 with nine RBIs in 23 major league games last year.

With Grissom out, Enmanuel Valdez could take over at second base for Boston. He made 44 starts at second last season.

Washington Nationals outfielder Daylen Lile was taken off the field on a stretcher after he tumbled over the wall in right-center while trying to catch Tyler Miller’s solo homer for Boston in the seventh inning. Lile got a CT scan of his lower back at a hospital. “When we left him, he was moving his feet, his legs,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters in Florida. “Hopefully everything comes back negative. We’re going to pray for him, and hopefully everything’s good.” … Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ has a mild left hamstring strain. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters in Arizona that the team is optimistic he will be ready for opening day. … New York Mets infielder Jeff McNeil is dealing with some left biceps soreness. Manager Carlos Mendoza said the team doesn’t think it’s anything serious. “We’ll reassess and see where he’s at after the off day on Monday,” Mendoza told reporters in Florida.

AP freelance reporter Jack Thompson in Arizona contributed to this report.

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