Phillies sorry to see Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. lost for the season: ‘It’s bad for baseball’

Philadelphia Phillies

SAN FRANCISCO — Kyle Schwarber was in the training room between at-bats Sunday when he peeked at the television and saw Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. hit the ground and grab his knee.

“You don’t ever want to see that happen,” Schwarber said. “To anyone.”

The news was still fresh Monday, as the Phillies opened a three-game series with a Memorial Day matinee against the Giants. Acuña tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season, a blow to the Braves in their quest for a seventh consecutive division title.

» READ MORE: On Ronald Acuña Jr.’s injury, Bryce Harper’s greatness, and the biggest reason to believe in the Phillies

It marks the second time in four seasons that Acuña has torn his ACL, one in each knee. The Braves won the World Series without him in 2021. To repeat history, they will have to leapfrog the Phillies, who began the week with a six-game lead in the NL East.

And it isn’t only Acuña — the reigning National League MVP — whom they won’t have in the lineup. Ace righty Spencer Strider is lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in April.

“We compete all the time with each other, but it’s also a big fraternity,” Schwarber said. “You want to see guys have success and do good, especially a guy who’s good for the game and an electric player. “You don’t want to see them get hurt. You want to see them stay on the field.”

Schwarber can relate to Acuña’s plight. In April 2016, Schwarber tore the ACL in his left knee on a collision with then-Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler. He missed the rest of the season but made it back for the World Series.

Last year, the Phillies lost Rhys Hoskins to an ACL tear in spring training. Acuña’s injury, like Hoskins’, happened on a non-contact play. He broke for third on a stolen-base attempt, then stopped abruptly, causing his left leg to buckle and his knee to twist.

In real time, Schwarber hoped it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

“I saw him go down, and I asked the trainer, because he was holding the back of his leg, so I was like, maybe hamstring?” Schwarber said. “And then he pointed at his knee. I was like, maybe he subluxed his kneecap or something.”

» READ MORE: The Phillies might have the ‘baddest infield in the world.’ Will it become the best in team history?

Schwarber has experience with knee subluxations, too. It happened when he played football in high school, but the pain subsided when his knee popped back into place.

By the time the Phillies landed in San Francisco, the Braves got word that the worst-case scenario had occurred with Acuña, who will have surgery and undergo a lengthy rehabilitation.

It took time for Acuña to regain his MVP form. He had a .925 OPS in his first four major-league seasons, then posted a .764 mark in 119 games in 2022 after coming back from his first ACL tear. Last season, he hit 41 homers, stole 73 bases, and led the league with a 1.012 OPS.

“I think it’s terrible,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “It hurts the sport when great players go down. I don’t care who they are. I don’t care what team they play for. It’s bad for baseball.”

Said Schwarber: “Especially being No. 2 for a guy, you don’t want to see it. I know everyone over here was shocked. Everyone felt bad. He’s been through it once. He kind of knows what to expect. But it’s still not a fun process. You wish the best for the guy because he’s such a great talent in the game. I don’t wish that on anyone.”

No play for Trea

Trea Turner may not resume his running program until the Phillies return home at the end of the week, Thomson said. Turner, sidelined since May 3 with a strained left hamstring, felt soreness after doing high-intensity drills Saturday.

Initially, the Phillies hoped Turner would face live pitching Friday before going on a minor league assignment. Those steps in his recovery will be pushed back.

Turner was ahead of schedule. When he got injured, he said the medical staff thought he would miss at least six weeks.

» READ MORE: Do the Phillies have the best Big Three in MLB? How they stack up to other formidable starter trios.

Extra bases

J.T. Realmuto extended his career-long hitting streak to 16 games with a double in the first inning. It’s tied for the third-longest streak by a Phillies catcher since 1900, joining Stan Lopata in 1956 and Jimmie Wilson in 1934. … Bryson Stott got a day off after starting nine consecutive games and 14 of 15. … The Phillies are the 13th team since 2006 to notch at least 28 wins in a 35-game stretch within one season. Dave Dombrowski was the president of baseball operations for three of them (2006 Tigers, 2018 Red Sox, 2024 Phillies). … The Phillies acquired righty reliever Jonah Dipoto from the Royals for cash considerations. Dipoto, 27, son of Mariners’ president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, will report to triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has a 4.28 ERA in 46 appearances over the last two years in triple A with Kansas City. … Zack Wheeler (6-3, 2.53 ERA) will start Tuesday night. The Giants haven’t named a starter.

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