MLBits: Acuña's Health, Twins Have a New Plan For Buxton, the A's Can't Fill Seats, Rizzo's Numbers, More

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MLBits: Acuña’s Health, Twins Have a New Plan For Buxton, the A’s Can’t Fill Seats, Rizzo’s Numbers, More

Chicago Cubs

The Braves and the Twins have two dynamic but injury-prone star outfielders on their roster, and the two teams are taking different approaches to keep them on the field more often. For now, at least.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Not Looking to Change

Ronald Acuña Jr. is one of the game’s brightest young stars. Still, as he deals with another injury (this time a groin strain) just 10 games into his return from a torn ACL that cost him 73 games in 2021, the Braves worry that their superstar will need to scale back the way he plays the game.

“Yeah, because he plays with his hair on fire,” manager Brian Snitker told The Athletic. “He plays the thing hard. He’s done a really good job managing the (comeback from a knee injury), too. He’s gotten hot, he’s on base a lot, and he wants to run, making plays in the outfield. Probably as he gets older and matures, he’ll probably need to scale back some of that a little bit because of the wear and tear on his body.

At his age, he doesn’t know anything but full speed ahead. But God bless him.”

Unfortunately for the Braves – and maybe Acuña himself one day – the 24-year-old outfielder isn’t looking to change the way he plays the game anytime soon.

“I think the best thing I can do is to keep playing the way I play the game,” Acuña told The Athletic through a translator after Sunday’s game. “If I try to do anything different, it would just diminish the game, and it would diminish the way I play.”

Acuña was off to a phenomenal start, picking up 11 hits in his first 10 games (two of which left the ballpark) before the groin issue. An MRI shows no long-term concern, but while this seems to be a minor speed bump for Acuña and the Braves, it might become an issue between the two sides if the injuries continue to mount.

The Braves love what Acuña brings to the field, but he needs to stay on it to make it worth it.

Twins and Buxton Have a Plan in Place

While the Braves aren’t looking to take any drastic measures with Ronald Anuña Jr. and his injuries right now, they might find the Minnesota Twins’ new approach to handling Byron Buxton of interest.

Buxton, much like Acuña, is a supremely talented outfielder who has struggled to stay on the field long enough for their team to take full advantage of his talents. The Twins are now implementing planned days off for Buxton in hopes that they can keep him healthy throughout the entire season.

Buxton and his teammate Carlos Correa made their major league debuts six days apart in 2015, but the two have played a drastically different amount of games since then. Correa has appeared in 776 games since his debut and 79 in the postseason, while Buxton has played in just 520 combined.

Buxton is on board with the plan, and he’s showing why the Twins need him on the field and healthy long-term this season.

Buxton has 11 home runs and 20 RBI in his first 24 games this season and owns a 192 wRC+ and 1.7 fWAR. Buxton’s 192 wRC+ ranks fourth in baseball (minimum 90 plate appearances) behind Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Aaron Judge, and his 1.7 fWAR is tied for eighth.

Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli explained to the media after Sunday’s game that when Buxton is on the bench for a scheduled day of rest, he’s down and not available to come into the game for pinch-hitting purposes or otherwise:

Some people hate the plan, but Buxton’s teammate Carlos Correa loves it and says that the critics “probably don’t know the game of baseball.”

Here’s a story by Dan Hayes on Buxton’s program, Correa’s feelings, and how the Twins ultimately hope to get the most out of their star outfielder:

The A’s Are the Real-Life ‘Major League’

The Oakland Athletics’ payroll is down to its lowest point in 20 years, and the attendance is down at the Coliseum by about 12,000 from where it stood in 2019. Despite denial from A’s President Dave Kaval, the team is starting to remind us of the Cleveland baseball team featured in the 1989 flick ‘Major League.’

Eno Sarris dives into the A’s now borderline comical (sad?) effort to get fans into the ballpark:

Odds and Ends …

•   Cavan Biggio has been activated from the COVID-IL by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, he will stay in Buffalo after the team decided to option their opening day second baseman, who slashed just .043/.214/.043 through 13 games before hitting the IL. Biggio owned a .368 OBP in his first two seasons (just shy of 700 plate appearances), but he slashed just .224/.322/.326 line in 79 games last season. As the Blue Jays await Biggio’s return to Toronto, they will go with a bench of Zack Collins, Raimel Tapia, Bradley Zimmer, and Vinny Capra.

https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1526329219038466048?s=20&t=D0MgkyHr9x1tg1t-AUPiag

•   Johnny Cueto is back, and so is the variation of wind-ups. On Monday night, Cueto threw six against the Kansas City Royals scoreless inning, striking out seven Royals hitters.

•   Speaking of Royals hitters, Kansas City has pulled the plug on hitting coach Terry Bradshaw per a press release issued on Monday afternoon. Here’s what Royals GM Dayton Moore had to say about the struggles at the dish this season: “We need to see nine players in the lineup who are committed to getting on base any way possible. There are times in baseball when it’s unacceptable to strikeout. I expect to see more consistency.”

•   Houston’s starting rotation has been one of the best in baseball this season, even without Lance McCullers Jr in the mix. Britt Ghiroli dives into the numbers behind Houston’s early success on the bump:

•   Speaking of early surprises on the mound, the Diamondbacks starting rotation has been nails in the first six weeks of the season:

•   Miggy has been turning back the clock the past couple of weeks with a sizzling .969 OPS and three home runs since May 1 🔥:

•   Enjoy 100 Shohei Ohtani bombs 💣:

•   Gerardo Parra has called it a career after 12 MLB seasons:

•   Anthony Rizzo joined teammates Aaron Judge (12) and Giancarlo Stanton (10) as the third Yankee hitter to reach the 10 home run plateau this season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this is the first time in Yankees history that the team had three players with double-digit home runs within the team’s first 35 games of a season. Seven of Rizzo’s 10 home runs have come at Yankee Stadium, showing how much he loves that short porch in right field. Rizzo owns a 211 wRC+ at Yankee Stadium this season and an 84 wRC+ on the road.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.