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Braves’ MVP OF Ronald Acuña Jr. tears ACL vs. Pirates, done for season

Braves' MVP OF Ronald Acuña Jr. tears ACL vs. Pirates, done for season

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore the ACL in his left knee on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Braves announced the injury Sunday night after he underwent an MRI. He'll miss the remainder of the season.

The injury took place as Acuña took a lead on the base paths from second base in the first inning of Atlanta's 8-1 win. He fell to the turf in obvious pain and grabbed his left leg. He remained on the ground for several moments while being tended to by trainers before he eventually limped off the field.

Acuña was injured in the top half of the first inning of a scoreless game. He reached base with a leadoff double, then suffered the injury as he attempted to steal third base. The Braves left Sunday's game with the third-best record in the NL at 30-20, six games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (38-16) in the NL East.

Acuña, 26, is a four-time All-Star and the reigning National League MVP. He led the league in runs, hits, stolen bases and on-base percentage in 2023 while slashing .337/.416/.596 with 41 home runs, 106 RBI, 149 runs scored and 73 stolen bases. In 48 games this season, he slashed .246/.348/.356 with four home runs, 15 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

The ACL tear is the second of Acuña's career. He tore the ACL in his right knee in 2021 after jumping to make a play in the outfield. Acuña also suffered an ACL sprain in 2018 and was optimistic postgame Sunday that he'd sustained another. He told reporters he didn't feel a pop like with his prior ACL tear and that he wouldn't be surprised if he was sidelined for a month. Instead, he's suffered the second season-ending injury of his seven-season MLB career.

Ronald Acuña Jr. limps off the field with a trainer after tearing his ACL. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Acuña's is the second season-altering injury for for a Braves team that entered the season hoping to compete for its second World Series victory in four seasons. All-Star starter Spencer Strider pitched just two games before undergoing season-ending internal brace surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Strider finished fourth in last year's Cy Young voting and was among the preseason favorites to compete for the award this year.

Now the Braves are left to regroup without their preseason Cy Young and MVP candidates.

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