Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuna Jr. learned Sunday that he is not bigger than the team.
Braves manager Brian Snitker pulled Acuna from the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 21-year-old All-Star failed to run out a hit in the third inning. Acuna stood at the plate and watched what he believed was a two-run homer, but the ball stayed in the park, and he was held to a single.
After letting Acuna play the fourth inning while Adam Duvall warmed up, Snitker swapped Duvall in to start the fifth.
“He didn’t run,” Snitker said of Acuna in comments published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You have to run. It’s not going to be acceptable here. As a teammate, you’re responsible for 24 other guys. That name on the front is a lot more important than the name on the back of that jersey.”
Snitker said he spoke with Acuna about the sequence, and the young player took his message to heart.
Acuna vowed to do better next time as he spoke through an interpreter after the game.
“I obviously wasn’t thinking,” Acuna told the Atlanta newspaper. “I respect Snit’s decision. He’s the manager. …
“He just told me the reason it was happening is because I didn’t run that one out. There’s no excuse for it, so I just took it and said, ‘Of course.’ He’s the manager, I’m the player, and I’ll ultimately respect his decision.”
–Field Level Media