BOSTON – Braves rookie Ronald Acuna left with lower-back pain and a possible knee injury after a frightening incident in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known and Acuna was being examined at a Boston hospital after the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
“I haven’t really got any reports other than he’s real sore,” Snitker said shortly after the game. “He’s being looked at, so we’ll know more (later).”
Acuna appeared to severely hyperextend his left knee when his foot planted in the dirt after he crossed first base on an infield hit, sending the prized prospect lurching forward as he tumbled to the ground.
Braves first-base coach Eric Young immediately signaled to the dugout and trainers rushed out to attend to Acuna as he lay on the ground writhing in pain. A sellout crowd gasped in horror as replays of the incident were shown on the stadium video board.
“I saw “EY” kind of run over there,” Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz said of Young, “and you didn’t really have to say much when you heard the oohs and ahs from the crowd a couple of times after they showed the replay. Bless him, it’s not something you like to see, especially on a routine ground ball to short that he beats out with that hustle and then goes down.
“We’re praying for him. It was amazing to see him walk off like that. We were all shocked to see that. But hopefully we get him back healthy.”
After a couple of minutes, Acuna stood up and walked off the field on his own power, trainers by his side but not physically supporting his weight.
“I just like the fact that he walked off, because when he did it I thought (it was) what Bryce Harper did last year,” Snitker said. “Looked really similar. So we’ll know more later.”
Nationals slugger Harper missed 42 games while on the disabled list last season with a hyperextended left knee, bone bruise and calf strain after his knee buckled when he stepped on a wet base in full stride and his body flew wildly into the air before tumbling.
The Braves announced shortly after Acuna left the game that he had “knee and lower-back pain” and a more specific diagnosis was pending the outcome of the exam and tests.
Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said the circumstances of the injury set off alarm bells as the scene unfolded.
“You kind of assume the worst, especially seeing that it happened either at the bag or just after it,” Flowers said. “You kind of assume that a knee-buckle situation, when he stayed down and “EY” was waving them (trainers) out, you knew it was pretty serious. To see him walk off, that was a promising sign.”