Braves' Ronald Acuna Denies Ripping Freddie Freeman During Instagram Live InterviewApril 7, 2022
Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. has denied criticizing Freddie Freeman during an Instagram Live interview on Tuesday.
Yancen Pujols, who conducted the interview, and Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital confirmed that Acuna said he won't miss Freeman because the 2020 National League MVP was overbearing and someone Acuna couldn't ever talk to.
Acuna tweeted that he "never" said any of it:
In a translation of the Spanish-language interview from ESPN's Alden Gonzalez, Acuna said he and Freeman were only close "in that we shared the same stadium" but they had "lots of clashes."
One such clash, according to Acuna, came during his rookie season when "a lot of veterans" on the team picked on him for doing things differently than they did, like wearing "big eye black, the sunglasses, the hat low," and a lot of people see that as wrong."
There were no indications, at least publicly, that Acuna and Freeman didn't get along during their four seasons as teammates.
There was a moment last season when Acuna was doing an Instagram Live as the team was getting ready to leave on a road trip, and Freeman made a comment in the video saying they needed his bags for the plane to take off.
Hahaha <a href="https://twitter.com/ronaldacunajr24?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ronaldacunajr24</a> holding up the rest of the squad so <a href="https://twitter.com/FreddieFreeman5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FreddieFreeman5</a> had to let him know to hurry up kid!! Haha too funny <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MLB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MLB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ACUNA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ACUNA</a> <a href="https://t.co/pHaBRZ7ipj">pic.twitter.com/pHaBRZ7ipj</a>
The comment could easily be read as just fun needling between two teammates. There's certainly no indication Freeman is trying to be malicious with that comment.
Freeman and Acuna spent the past four years as teammates in Atlanta, and the organization had tremendous success during that time period. The Braves made the postseason all four years, reaching the NLCS in 2020 and winning the World Series in 2021.
Acuna missed the second half of the season and playoffs last year after tearing his ACL on July 10 against the Miami Marlins.
Freeman, who spent his entire career with the Braves after being drafted in 2007, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent in March. He was a five-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger winner for Atlanta.
The Braves acquired Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics to replace Freeman at first base. Acuna, who is expected to be out until the first week of May, is taking over as the face of the franchise in Atlanta.
Acuna was hitting .283/.394/.596 with 24 homers and 52 RBI in 82 games prior to injuring his knee.
The Braves will begin the defense of their World Series title Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.