East Notes: Acuna Jr., BoSox, Betts, Yanks, Hicks

The Braves announced Wednesday that they’ve shut banged up outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. down for the rest of the regular season. Hip tightness and a left groin strain have troubled Acuna of late, but the NL East-winning Braves expect the superstar to be fine by the time the NLDS begins next week. The Braves, who are locked into the NL’s No. 2 seed, don’t have anything of substance to play for over the final few days of the season. However, it’s still a shame for the 21-year-old Acuna that he won’t have an opportunity at a 40-40 campaign. Acuna’s outstanding regular season will end with 41 home runs, 37 steals, a .280/.365/.518 line and 5.5 fWAR over 715 plate appearances.

Moving over to the AL East…

  • Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has made it known that he plans to become a free agent after 2020, his final season of arbitration control. The 2018 AL MVP told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he’s taking a business-minded approach instead of one driven by emotions because of his upbringing. “Fans and media get caught up in emotions and that’s just not how I was raised and that’s just not what my point of view with my agents is,” said Betts. “We take emotions out of it and we focus on the business part. Of course, I love it here. This is all I know. But you also have to take that emotional side out of it and get to what is actually real.” Betts further explained to Bradford that a business-first mindset has steered him right in the past, specifically when he signed with the Red Sox as a fifth-round pick in 2011 and when he brushed off a possible contract extension before the 2017 season in order to reach arbitration during the ensuing winter.
  • Utility player Brock Holt, one of Betts’ Red Sox teammates, may be in his final days with the club. The pending free agent told Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald that he has loved playing for the Red Sox, who acquired him back in 2013. At the same time, though, he finds the idea of a potential trip to free agency “exciting.” That’s understandable coming from Holt, who boasts a respectable track record of production. Injuries have limited him to 83 games this season, but the 31-year-old has batted a solid .303/.379/.414 during that 280-PA span.
  • Although he hasn’t played since Aug. 3, injured Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks continues to hold out hope that he’ll be able to return during the postseason, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Hicks, who’s dealing with a right flexor tendon issue, has begun to throw from 120 feet. He hasn’t progressed to throwing to bases, though, and there won’t be any chance of a comeback until that happens.