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Brian Snitker on Ronald Acuña Jr’s status, lineup shuffle and more

Snitker also revealed that catcher Manny Piña will undergo wrist surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

Boston Red Sox v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ronald Acuña Jr. is out of the Atlanta Braves lineup for Wednesday’s series finale against Boston due to a sore groin. Acuña had started six straight games. Brian Snitker said that Acuña felt some soreness during Tuesday’s game and was checked on by the team’s training staff, but stayed in for the remainder of the game. He woke up Wednesday still sore and the Braves are going to play it safe.

“Just treat him up for a couple days and check him out Friday when he comes in and see where we’re at,” Snitker said of Acuña. “He’s had a lot of activity. He’s been busy on the bases and stealing bases and running around the outfield. It’s just maintenance kind of more than anything. Trying to make sure it doesn’t become something.”

Over the last six games, Acuña has started in right field four times and at DH twice. They Braves have said all along that they were going to take a cautious approach with Acuña who has become much more of an everyday player quicker than was originally expected. Snitker reiterated that it is his groin that is bothering him and not his knee and suggested that his quick ramp up could have been a factor.

“He’s going to go with his hair on fire all the time. That’s the only way he knows to play,” Snitker added. “I think he’s been doing a great job of knowing when to push things too. I think he’s been really smart and everything, but he’s swinging the bat good, he’s on the bases a lot, he’s stealing bases. That’s why we have long spring training because you ramp those guys up slowly. It’s hard to do that when you miss spring training.”

The Braves are hopeful that two straight days of treatment and rest will allow him to be ready for Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres.

Lineup Shuffle

The Braves will go with a different look for their lineup Wednesday. Dansby Swanson will move up to the leadoff spot replacing Acuña. Swanson got off to a very slow start at the plate but has picked things up of late and is hitting .276/.333/.448 through nine games in May.

Travis d’Arnaud moved up to the third spot of the order. d’Arnaud had two hits in Tuesday’s loss including a two-run home run. He has seven hits, including three doubles and Tuesday’s homer, in his last six games. Snitker said that he wanted to move d’Arnaud up in an effort to try and get him more plate appearances.

Austin Riley, who is hitless on the current homestand, drops to fourth while Marcell Ozuna moves out of the cleanup spot for the first time this season. Ozuna got off to a decent start but has struggled with just four hits in his last 46 plate appearances.

Snitker on losing Manny Piña

Snitker also informed the media that catcher Manny Piña will undergo surgery on his wrist and will miss the remainder of the season. The wrist has bothered Piña for most of the season. He was placed on the injured list April 28. He recently tried to return to some baseball activity, but continued to experience soreness in the wrist.

“He started doing some soft toss and the tee and it wasn’t good so they MRI’d him again and it showed some ligament and cartilage damage,” Snitker said. “So he’s just going to get it cleaned up, but it will sideline for the rest of the year.

The Braves signed Piña to a two-year, $8 million contract in November in hopes that he would add depth at the catcher position. Snitker said that he should be ready for the start of spring training. In the meantime, William Contreras will take over as the backup behind d’Arnaud while Chadwick Tromp continues to work at Gwinnett.

“We got him for a reason. Having an experienced catcher like that,” Snitker said. “We’re fortunate to have William and Tromp is down in Triple A, who has major league experience. So it is kind of like pitchers, you can never have too many of those guys either.”

Piña appeared in just five games this season and was 2-for-14 at the plate.