Snitker: Braves ‘dodged a bullet’ with Ronald Acuna’s injury

Ronald Acuna was not in Tuesday’s lineup for the Braves’ series opener against the Yankees, as expected. Acuna is considered day-to-day with a mild abdominal strain.

The Braves’ All-Star outfielder was injured during Sunday’s win over the Cubs. Acuna left the game in the fourth inning because of pain in his lower abdominal muscles. He underwent an MRI the next day in New York that revealed the best-case scenario for the player and team: a mild strain. He won’t require time on the injured list.

“He feels a lot better, which is good,” manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. “He’s getting treatment. I feel like we dodged a bullet there when they checked him out yesterday. I know he’s feeling a lot better today.”

Ehire Adrianza started in right field and led off for the Braves on Tuesday. Adrianza now fills in for Acuna after handling second base in Ozzie Albies’ absence. Albies returned to the lineup Tuesday.

Acuna started the Braves’ first 16 games. He hit .419/.486/.887 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and MLB-best 21 runs scored. He’s also 3-for-3 in stolen bases. Acuna has been the team’s only consistent offensive threat to this point. He was named National League player of the week Monday.

The Braves have another off-day Thursday after concluding a two-game series against the Yankees. It would make sense to rest Acuna during Wednesday’s contest, but Snitker didn’t rule him out yet. The Braves will see how he feels Wednesday. The team opens a seven-game homestand Friday against the Diamondbacks.

Whether he returns Wednesday or during the weekend, Acuna avoiding an IL stint was a huge relief for the Braves, who are dealing with numerous injuries that have helped account for their 7-9 start.

“It’s always a concern when someone leaves the game, but hearing it’s a mild strain – I mean, we’ve been hit with the injury bug more than I think probably anybody in the game so far,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said.

“We’re handling it OK. We’re testing our depth. (Ehire) Adrianza has been huge. (Guillermo) Heredia had a huge game for us (Sunday). We got Ozzie back today, so that helps. Hearing that Acuna wasn’t going on the IL, that was big for us. So hopefully a couple days of treatment, and we’ll see where we’re at.”