Ronald Acuña Jr. will miss a fifth consecutive game because of groin discomfort when the Atlanta Braves begin a series on Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Mark Bowman.
Acuña has not played since last Tuesday after tweaking his groin, yet the Braves have resisted placing him on the injured list. He even underwent an MRI over the weekend, with the results spurring further optimism that his return to the lineup isn't far off. "It's the best news possible," manager Brian Snitker told MLB.com. "There was nothing big. He's just going to be day to day. I don't know how long it will be. But there's nothing from the MRI that showed he's going to be shut down."
The Braves, who will enter play on Monday with a 16-19 record and in third place in the National League East, could certainly use Acuña back in the lineup on a consistent basis. He made his return from the ACL injury that prematurely ended his 2021 season on April 28. He's since appeared in 10 games, hitting .282/.391/.487.
Acuña had performed more like his usual self right before suffering the groin injury. Indeed, in his last four games, he had homered twice and notched six hits in 14 at-bats. That stretch included a pair of multi-hit contests, and contributed to what remains an active seven-game hitting streak. Acuña had even stolen a base in each of his last three contests, making him a perfect 3 for 3 on the year.
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The Braves have been playing shorthanded with Acuña on the active roster yet unable to partake in games. Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, and Travis Demeritte have formed the starting outfield in three of those four contests. Meanwhile, the Braves have split DH duties between backup catcher William Contreras and utility player Orlando Arcia.
It's worth noting that the Braves could place Acuña on the injured list at any time without it requiring him to miss an additional 10 days. Teams are allowed to backdate IL stints by up to three days, however, meaning Acuña would have to sit out a week. At this point, the Braves don't seem likely to make such a move, barring a setback.