Ronald Acuña says he has had ‘some pretty intense’ knee pain last few days

ST. LOUIS — Out of the lineup for a second straight day Sunday, Ronald Acuña said the Braves’ medical staff has explained to him that his right knee soreness is part of the process in returning from the ACL procedure.

“To be honest, it was some pretty intense pains over the past couple of days,” Acuña said through interpreter Franco García. “This is just all something that I’ve never really experienced before in my life, so it’s all new to me. With that, that’s why we’re just kind of taking it easy and just trying to get away from that a little bit.”

The Braves gave him Saturday off and held him out of Sunday’s lineup. With Monday’s off day, this gives the outfielder three days of rest.

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Acuña did not look right when running the bases at one point during Friday’s game. And before that contest, manager Brian Snitker noticed Acuña limping during pregame warmups.

“It’s very frustrating, just because I feel like, first of all, I’ve never experienced something like this before, so it’s all new to me, and secondly, the pain is something that I feel like limits sort of my ability to run, I’d say, mostly,” Acuña said. “I don’t think it affects my ability to hit or anything like that, but I think sometimes when I’m running, I feel the limitations there just from the pain. But I told them that I’m ready and I’m good to go.”

This season, Acuña has battled various nagging injuries, most recently the knee soreness. Snitker said there is inflammation in Acuña’s right knee, but there is no structural damage.

Entering Sunday’s series finale at Busch Stadium, Acuña was batting .274 with a .774 OPS. He has 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Statistically, this has been the worst season of Acuña’s young career. But that deserves a couple clarifications: He is still performing better than the average hitter, and he is in the process of returning from last summer’s knee surgery.

The Braves won a World Series without him last year, but they are a better team when he’s playing well. That is why it is smart to exercise caution with him.

“I want to contribute to these regular-season games,” Acuña said, “but also want to be ready for the postseason if that comes to that.”

Some days, Acuña does not feel any pain in his knee. The soreness is more prominent on other days.

The Braves want to keep him healthy.

“I don’t know that it’ll ever just go away,” Snitker said. “I think it’s going to have to bother him for the rest of the summer and then have a normal offseason and spring training, and he should be good to go. Now I could tell it’s bothering him.”

Acuña has been receiving treatment on the knee in hopes of managing the soreness. The good news is this: The Braves told him this is not anything out of the ordinary.

“As soon as they told me that it’s normal, then that settles me down and I’m good to go,” Acuña said. “Hopefully, sort of taking these days and being careful with it, it will get to the point where I can play again without any pain because I think being able to play 100% makes a big difference.”

Ozzie Albies nearing rehab assignment

Snitker said Ozzie Albies could begin a rehab assignment in the middle of the week.

Albies, who fractured his foot in June, has been with the Braves on this road trip as he continues ramping up in doing baseball activities. He has looked healthy and has appeared to be nearing a rehab assignment.

Barring a setback, that should begin at some point this week.

Mike Soroka’s latest rehab start

The line did not look great in Mike Soroka’s latest rehab start.

He allowed four runs in 4 ⅔ innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. But all four scored in one inning, and Soroka finished at 75 pitches.

At this point, the Braves care about him being healthy after these appearances.

Snitker saw Soroka’s numbers from Saturday.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Snitker said. “Guy hasn’t pitched in two years. This first time in competition, kind of probably where you thought it would be, really.”