Ronald Acuna in ‘great spirits’ after receiving ACL diagnosis

When Ronald Acuna went up for a fly ball in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against the Marlins and came down on his right leg, he knew something was wrong, but didn’t know the extent of the pain.

Late Saturday night, the Braves learned that Acuna tore his right ACL and will require season-ending surgery.

“When I got the news, I was really disappointed and sad,” Acuna said Sunday. “I love to play and I want to be able to play. I’m disappointed for the team because I know they need me and I want to help contribute. I have the utmost confidence in my teammates that they’ll go out there and do great.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker was able to talk with the All-Star outfielder about midnight soon after getting the news.

“He was in great spirits,” Snitker said Sunday. “There are a lot of questions for a young guy. I’d have the same questions when you’re going forward with something you’ve never been through. There were a lot of rehab questions, things like that, what the procedure is going to be.”

Snitker said he didn’t sleep well after hearing the diagnosis.

“It’s just another punch in the gut that we have to endure, but he’s a young, strong guy. He’ll recover great, continue a Hall of Fame career when he’s done,” Snitker said. “Ronald is strong, takes great care of himself. I expect him to recover and be just as strong as he ever was. ”There is no timetable for Acuna’s recovery, there has been no decision made on which doctor will operate on Acuna and no date has been set.

When news broke Saturday that Acuna’s season was over, athletes, coaches, teams and media members from all across the sports world reached out and showed their support. Acuna, who will still be heading out to Colorado this week for the All-Star festivities, was grateful.

“I want to say thank you and how appreciative I am of that,” he said. “There’s a sense of that unconditional support between professionals and it means a lot to have all these guys reach out, wishing me well. The way I can show them my gratitude is just to continue to work extremely hard.”

“I can only control what I can control,” Acuna added. “So I’m going to put maximum effort to come back stronger than ever. If I was giving 500% before, I’m about to start giving 1,000%.”

The Braves play in Miami Sunday to conclude the first half of the season. With 73 games left in the regular season, the Braves will be looking for production to come elsewhere.

Sunday, the Braves recalled outfielder Johan Camargo from Gwinnett and placed Acuna on the injured list.

“You’re not going to replace (Acuna),” Snitker said. “This guy is arguably the best player in the game right now. It’s going to be hard to replace him. Somebody is going to get an opportunity, whether it’s in this clubhouse or away or who knows. It’s what you do in our business. You keep going and keep playing and rally the troops.”