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MLB News And Notes for April 19

After the first full week of baseball, MLB players and teams are starting to settle into the daily grind of the regular season schedule.

As fans have enjoyed both sensational basketball and highlights from rookies and veterans alike, it has been nice just to have baseball back after a long offseason made even longer by the lockout.

While the focus has been on the field, let’s take a look at some of the biggest news stories from around the league this week.

Ronald Acuna Jr Working His Way Back

According to Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it appears that Ronald Acuna Jr. will be heading to Triple-A Gwinnett to start a rehab assignment on Tuesday.

Last season, the young outfielder tore his ACL in his right knee and was forced to miss the rest of the season, including the Braves’ World Series run.

Prior to the injury, Acuna was hitting .283/.394/.596 with 24 home runs, 52 runs batted in, 72 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases.

When Acuna does return, manager Brian Snitker will have to figure out how to manage a crowded outfield that also includes Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Alex Dickerson, and Marcell Ozuna. Still, when healthy, Acuna is a no-doubt starter in either center or right field.

The Braves have gotten off to a 5-6 start this season, and they are currently the slight favorites to win the NL East (+140) and have the fifth-best odds of winning the World Series (+1200).

Early Injuries

It is not uncommon for teams to deal with injuries throughout the season, and with the shortened spring training, this year has been no exception. Here is a rundown of some of the more notable injuries in the first week.

The Minnesota Twins put right-handed starter Sonny Gray on the injured list with a hamstring injury. Gray had to leave his start on Saturday after just 31 pitches due to an injury. While the Twins only think he will miss one start, it is still a concern for the ace of their rotation.

Detroit also put one of their free-agent acquisitions on the IL as shortstop Javier Baez is dealing with a thumb injury. Signed to a six-year, $140 million deal, Baez has played in just five games early on as he has dealt with the injury.

The Astros put their closer, Ryan Pressly, on the IL as a result of inflammation in his right knee. Pressly already has three saves in four appearances but took the loss in his last outing. Hector Neris may take over the role in his absence.

Lastly, the Baltimore Orioles put starter John Means on the IL with a left elbow strain on Friday, and they have since transferred him to the 60-day IL. Out until at least mid-June, the Orioles and Means are hoping that the injury does not lead to an even lengthier absence.

Hunter Greene Makes History

The Cincinnati Reds have the worst record in baseball after the first full week at 2-8. Still, when rookie phenom Hunter Greene is on the mound, it is much-watch television.

In his last start, a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers, Greene made history due to his unbelievable velocity. In the start, 39 of his pitches were clocked at 100 miles per hour or faster, making the most triple-digit pitches in one game since that statistic started being recorded.

On the day, Greene went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and struck out six. The Reds may not be overly competitive this year, but the future is bright when it comes to Greene.

A Couple Minor Trades

While most trades are done either during the offseason or closer to the trade deadline, there were a couple of small transactions completed this week.

The Cincinnati Reds traded right-handed pitcher Riley O’Brien to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for either a player to be named or cash.

O’Brien is likely just a pitching depth piece that will work in the minors. For the Reds, he pitched 1.1 innings last year, allowing two runs. He did not make the team out of spring training this year.

Elsewhere, Tampa Bay traded for right-handed pitcher Javy Guerra, acquiring him from the Padres for cash. It appears Guerra will be called up with the Rays after the deal, as the team also moved Shane Baz to the 60-day injured list in order to add Guerra to the 40-man roster.

In four years with the Padres, Guerra has pitched in 27 games, amassing a 8.46 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, and 22 strikeouts in 27.2 innings of work.

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