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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. is dealing with some right knee irritation

    Vaughn Grissom of the Atlanta Braves, in action during Game 4 of the NL Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in October, and now a member of the Boston Red Sox, has been shut down because of a left groin strain. (Chris Szagola/AP Photo)

    Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. has some irritation around the meniscus in his surgically repaired right knee.

    The reigning NL MVP had an MRI on Friday. He will be evaluated on Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who repaired the outfielder's torn right ACL in July 2021.

    The 26-year-old Acuña is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, but that timeline could change after he sees ElAttrache in California.

    “Right now we’re trying to be optimistic,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters in Florida on Saturday. “Maybe just a couple of weeks or whatever, just to calm everything down. But honestly, I don’t know until we get what the doctor out there says.”

    Acuña posted “ I'LL BE BACK ” on social media on Saturday.

    Acuña led Atlanta to its sixth consecutive NL East title in 2023. The outfielder hit a career-best .337 with 41 homers, 106 RBI and 73 steals in 159 games.

    He got into a rundown between second and third in the third inning of Thursday's 5-0 split-squad win against Minnesota. He was replaced before the start of the sixth and then was scratched from Atlanta's lineup on Friday.

    A cautious approach

    Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah felt some soreness during a bullpen session on Friday. He had an MRI that showed “no structural concern at all,” manager John Schneider said.

    “He was throwing and kind of just said ‘Eh, it feels a little bit cranky,’ and just wanted to be extra careful at this point in camp,” Schneider told reporters in Florida.

    Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts for Toronto in 2022. But he struggled last year, going 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA in 19 starts. He was optioned to the minors twice.

    The 6-foot-6 right-hander hit three batters and threw just 17 of 38 pitches for strikes while working 1.2 innings in his first spring start on Tuesday.

    “Didn't really bounce back the way he wanted to after his start, so we're kind of just taking it day to day right now,” Schneider said.

    Hurting

    Boston Red Sox infielder Vaughn Grissom has been shut down because of a left groin strain. Manager Alex Cora told reporters in Florida that Grissom could miss the beginning of the regular season.

    Grissom was acquired in a December trade with Atlanta that moved pitcher Chris Sale to the Braves. The 23-year-old Grissom hit .280 with nine RBI in 23 major league games last year.

    With Grissom out, Enmanuel Valdez could take over at second base for Boston. He made 44 starts at second last season.

    Ouch

    Washington Nationals outfielder Daylen Lile was taken off the field on a stretcher after he tumbled over the wall in right-center while trying to catch Tyler Miller's solo homer for Boston in the seventh inning. ... Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ has a mild left hamstring strain. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters in Arizona that the team is optimistic he will be ready for opening day.

    Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah warms up at baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., Tuesday Feb. 20, 2024. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

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