3 reasons why the Braves activated Ronald Acuña Jr. earlier than expected

Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Ronald Acuña Jr. will make his triumphant return to the Atlanta Braves roster on Thursday.

After being absent for much of the year, Ronald Acuña Jr. will return to the Atlanta Braves for the first time this season.

Acuña last played for the Braves at the big league level just before the All-Star Game. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament trying to find a fly ball on the warning track in Miami. Although Atlanta wins its first World Series title in 26 years in the coming months, Braves Country has patiently awaited the return of its beloved team’s best player. So why is he being recalled right now?

Here’s why Acuña is back in the Braves’ starting lineup more than a week ahead of schedule. Acuña was scheduled to return on May 6, but will play in Atlanta’s three-game series finale with the Chicago Cubs on April 28.

Ronald Acuña Jr. returns: Why the Atlanta Braves star is back sooner than expected

3. The Atlanta Braves’ slow start to the 2022 MLB season likely contributed to this

Yes, it’s safe to say that the Braves’ 8-11 record early in the season contributed to Acuña’s early return to the Atlanta roster. While last year’s team proved that being below .500 for long stretches isn’t the end of the world, keep this very important thing in mind. While a team cannot win a division title/pennant after a hot start, they can certainly fall out of a race with a slow run.

It’s only the last days of April, but the Braves are already 5.5 games behind the division-leading New York Mets in the NL East race. Although the Mets can come down to earth because they are what they are, only the rebuilding Washington Nationals have had a slower start to the division than Atlanta. Washington is 8.5 games behind the Mets with a pitiful 6-15 record.

While the idea of ​​bringing Acuña back essentially a week earlier probably won’t change Atlanta’s overall season dynamic one way or another, it does provide a spark that the defending World Series champions have sorely needed. need. His mere presence in the lineup, on the base paths and especially in the outfield will be a boon to the entire Braves franchise.

If the Braves played better out of the gate, it wouldn’t have accelerated Acuña’s early comeback.

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