Ronald Acuna Jr. Exits Braves vs. Cubs with Abdominal Injury Diagnosed as Strain

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. scores during the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves announced star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. left Sunday's game against the Chicago Cubs with "pain in his lower abdominal muscles."

After the game, manager Brian Snitker told reporters that Acuna had suffered an abdominal strain and will be reassessed on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. 

Acuna, 23, had an injury scare in 2020 after bruising his ankle in September. The injury looked bad, as Acuna had to be helped off the field following a foul ball he hit off his ankle. But he was available to play the next day.

"I think it hit a nerve or something," Snitker said at the time, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com. "But by the time they got him upstairs, he walked over, had it X-rayed and everything was good."

Keeping him on the field is vital for Atlanta. The young superstar already has a Rookie of the Year award (2018) under his belt and was both an All-Star and fifth in the MVP voting in 2019 after hitting .280 with 41 homers, 101 RBI, 127 runs and 37 stolen bases.

He continued to rake in the MLB's pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, hitting .250 with 14 homers, 29 RBI, 46 runs and eight stolen bases. Few players in baseball are more valuable to their team.

That makes him essentially impossible to replace.

Johan Camargo entered the game at second base when Acuna exited, and Ehire Adrianza shifted to the vacant right field spot.