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Braves pitcher Mike Soroka out for season with torn right Achilles

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka out for season with torn right Achilles

Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won't be back on the mound until 2021.

"It's a freak thing that happened," manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. "I'm sorry it did."

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn't put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

"Somebody else is going to get an opportunity," Snitker said. "Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We're going to be fine."

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won't get a chance to make up for it this season.

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Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. takes curtain call despite empty stadium after homer

Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. takes curtain call despite empty stadium after homer

Before the 2020 season began, there were questions surrounding how players would be able to maintain the same levels of intensity that they would in normal games. There are no fans in the stands, social distancing is in full effect and an aura of uncertainty and abnormality shrouds the sport as MLB attempts to put on a season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And yet, the players have still managed to stay locked in during games and look like they’re having fun out there doing it. For an example of that, look no further than Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.

On Saturday, the Braves hosted the New York Mets for the second of four games between the NL East rivals. Atlanta cruised into the sixth inning with a 6-1 lead, but Acuña Jr. added another number on the scoreboard with a solo home run off Mets rookie pitcher Franklyn Kilome.

After rounding the bases and somehow losing his helmet along the way, Acuña Jr. jumped up the dugout stairs and flexed for the invisible crowd of screaming fans. The run would prove to be more than enough insurance, as the Braves went on to win 7-1 and move to 6-3 on the year.

The home run was Acuña Jr.’s first of the season after getting off to a slow start. Entering playing Sunday, he’s hitting just .184 with an MLB-leading 18 strikeouts this season.

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Former Orioles OF Nick Markakis to rejoin Braves after originally opting out of 2020 season

Former Orioles OF Nick Markakis to rejoin Braves after originally opting out of 2020 season

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis has decided to play this season after originally opting out due to coronavirus concerns. According to The Athletic’s David O’Brien and Ken Rosenthal, he “felt as if he had let the team down” while watching the Braves kick off their season on TV.

The three-time Gold Glover and former Orioles first-round pick has spent the last five seasons in Atlanta. At 36 years old, there was a chance Markakis was passing on what might’ve been his final year in the majors—though he gave no indication that he had plans of retiring.

Markakis originally announced July 6 that he would be opting out of the season, citing a desire to be with his family amid the pandemic. He then reportedly navigated a three-week appeal process before being reinstated by Major League Baseball. Though no timetable has been given for his return, he’ll soon be rejoining a Braves team that’s started off just 2-3 this season.

When Markakis opted out, the Braves worked out a deal with Yasiel Puig to help fill out their outfield death. However, Puig tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival and the deal fell through. Atlanta then signed utility man Matt Adams, who’s gone 5-18 (.176 batting average) to start the year.

Picked seventh overall by the Orioles in 2003, Markakis played nine years in Baltimore before signing as a free agent with the Braves in 2014. He’s a lifetime .288 hitter who ranks third among active players with 2,355 hits.

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