Braves superstar Ronald Acuña could return to lineup Tuesday

You will have to wait at least another day to see Ronald Acuña in the Braves’ lineup. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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You will have to wait at least another day to see Ronald Acuña in the Braves’ lineup. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

MILWAUKEE — You will have to wait at least another day to see Ronald Acuña in the Braves’ lineup.

Acuña on Monday went through testing at American Family Field in Milwaukee and “checked out really good,” according to Braves manager Brian Snitker. The superstar outfielder, who is dealing with groin soreness, ran the bases.

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“It was a good outcome,” Snitker said. “Now we’ll just see how he is tomorrow and hopefully get him back in there.”

Acuña has now missed five straight games. His MRI, done over the weekend, came back clean, but he still experienced a bit of soreness Sunday.

The Braves worked out Acuña on Sunday. He ran on the treadmill and hit in the batting cage. It went well, but they wanted to see how he would fare when running the bases.

“He passed this test,” Snitker said. “Now you’re not going to let him sit in there for three hours and then heat him back up. But if he comes (Tuesday) and feels as good as he did today, I think we can feel good about getting him back in there.”

There is a balance in managing Acuña, who is one of the sport’s best athletes. The Braves want him healthy, but they also understand he’s, well, Ronald Acuña.

He crushes baseballs, he runs hard, he steals bases, he performs acrobatic slides, he chases balls in the outfield with full effort.

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“He does only know one way (to play) right now,” Snitker said. “I would be more afraid of him trying to be careful. Probably would have a better chance of getting hurt being careful than just playing the game he does. Because there’s some of that, it’s unconscious acts of baseball. When you hit a ball, come out of that box and everything, your instincts take over and you go.

“The kid, he’s a physical player, and he plays hard. When you’re that elite of a player, you’re going to be on the bases and you’re going to be doing things all the time.”

Acuña is batting .282 with an .878 on-base plus slugging percentage over 39 at-bats this season. He hasn’t played since May 10.

Without him, the Braves have a short bench because they have not placed him on the injured list. They are taking a risk in doing this, but it won’t burn them if he returns Tuesday.

Players can be retroactively placed on the injured list, which means the placement is backdated to the date after the last date the player appeared in a game. The catch: An injured-list stint can be backdated only three days. If Acuña is placed on the injured list Tuesday, for example, the Braves can only backdate it to Saturday, which means they will lose him for more time than they would have if they had just placed him on the injured list within three days of the last game he played.

But based on what Snitker said in the visitor’s dugout Monday, it doesn’t appear this will be the case. Acuña seems to be nearing a return, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

A.J. Minter dominating for Braves

In a bullpen that houses Kenley Jansen, Tyler Matzek, Will Smith and Collin McHugh, lefty A.J. Minter is quietly dominating for the Braves.

He held a 1.72 ERA over 15 ⅔ innings entering Monday. He has not allowed a run since April 24.

Since then, he has pitched nine scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. He has struck out 11 batters and walked one.

Opposing batters are hitting .103 with a .271 OPS against Minter in that span.

“Just the efficiency of everything and how he’s throwing has been really, really good,” Snitker said. “Very encouraging.”

Two cool streaks

Speaking of Minter and Jansen, both have impressive streaks going.

Heading into Monday, Jansen had struck out at least one batter in 23 consecutive appearances, which is the longest active streak for a reliever in baseball. Minter has the sixth-longest such streak, with 15 straight outings with a strikeout.

Too many strikeouts

The Braves’ offense arrived in Milwaukee leading the NL in strikeouts while racking up the second-most strikeouts in baseball.

The Braves had struck out 334 times over their first 35 games, which was 11 more than the Brewers, who had also played 35 contests before the teams met for a three-game series here.

Snitker is well aware of his club’s strikeout numbers, but everyone also understands strikeouts are viewed differently than they once were.

“I think that mindset is different now,” the manager said. “That has changed. That’s just kind of where we’re at, I think, in baseball right now, that it isn’t as big a deal as it used to be.”

Tuesday’s starter

Snitker said he had to see how his club would get through Monday’s game before determining Tuesday’s starter.