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Braves Star Ronald Acuna Was Scratched From Sunday's Lineup

Ronald Acuna Jr. batting.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during the Grapefruit League spring training game at Champion Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

After dropping two games to the New York Mets in the NL East standings Saturday, the Atlanta Braves removed Ronald Acuña Jr. from the starting lineup of Sunday's pivotal game.

According to Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta scratched the star outfielder due to lower body soreness. However, he described the late swap as a precautionary measure after rain delayed the game's scheduled start time.

Recovering from an ACL tear, Acuña didn't make his season debut until April 28. While he's posted a .360 OBP and 23 stolen bases in 73 games, the 24-year-old hasn't displayed his pre-injury power.

Acuña snapped a 19-game home run drought Thursday to tally just his ninth long ball of the season. He started to heat up during this crucial series against the Mets, batting 8-for-18 during the first four games with a double in each of Saturday's doubleheader losses. 

Now down 5.5 games in the NL East, Atlanta won't have Acuña against Jacob deGrom, who's making his second start of the season. Robbie Grossman, acquired from the Detroit Tigers before Tuesday's trade deadline, takes his starting spot in right field.

While the Braves won't want to drop four of five games to their division rivals, they also need to make sure Acuña is healthy for a likely playoff run. They didn't want their young star playing on a wet field the day after a doubleheader.