Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna spoke with the media Thursday, through an interpreter, after he was hit in the left elbow by the Marlins’ Jose Urena and forced to leave Wednesday’s game. He was back in the lineup Thursday in a series opener against the Rockies.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q. How do you feel today?
A. First of all, I’m thankful to God. It was a hard hit but I’m not feeling any pain. I feel good right now.
Q. How much of a relief was it that you can be in the lineup today?
A. It’s great, especially after what happened last night and that was being hit by a hard pitch. It definitely hurt a lot when it happened. It’s a relief that I was able to come here and be able to play.
Q. What did it mean to see the way your teammates and coaches come to your defense like they did?
A. I just want to thank them. I’m very grateful for the support and the way they reacted yesterday. Snit, the manager, and the teammates, I feel like they have supported me all season long.
Q. Were you were that would happen? Or were you as surprised as all your teammates?
A. It didn’t really surprise me. I just went up there with the same mentality. I wanted to have a good at-bat, like I also do. What happened yesterday, I didn’t really like that.
Q. Is there any doubt in your mind that it was intentional? If so, how angry were you about what happened?
A. I was upset. It was the first time I ever led off and had that pitch thrown at me like that. Obviously, I was upset.
Q. Do you think a pitcher is ever justified throwing at a player just because he is having a good season?
A. I don’t really know how to answer, to be honest. I’m not really focused on what the other team is doing. I’m focused on what we are doing as a team and the work we are putting in. Our goal is to make the playoffs. That is where my attention is right now.
Q. You said you were surprised he threw at you. What were you expecting?
A. Typically I was expecting a pitch either middle-in or middle-out. That was where my thought process was at. Obviously, that didn’t happen. It seemed kind of intentional because it wasn’t where I was expecting it at the time.
Q. What were you feeling as you were making your way to first base and what did you say to him?
A. At the time, it hurt. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep playing. I felt a little dizzy at the time. I felt like I was able to compose myself and start walking over there. In passing, he asked me if I was OK. I guess I took a little bit exception to it because it felt like the pitch was intentional at the time. So, to me, baseball is a man’s game and it’s over now.
Q. Were you worried they would find something on the X-ray?
A. I wasn’t worried. Obviously, I got hit hard but I never felt like it got me on the bone or anything like that or any cause for concern.
Q. I just want to make sure I’m clear. Do you think it was intentional?
A. Like I said before, I’ve never seen a pitcher throw a pitch like that with that velocity before. That is where I will leave it.
Q. What did you feel in the second inning. You ran out to the field and it looked like you were going to continue but want happened to make you need to leave the game?
A. I just went out because I felt good and thought I could continue to keep playing. I had a hard time moving my hand inside the glove.