Young Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. was hit by a pitch Wednesday night for being too good.
Acuna had led off with a home run in all three of the Braves’ previous games against Miami this week. But he never got a chance to do it in the fourth and final game of the series after the Marlins’ Jose Ureña nailed him in the elbow with his first pitch of the night.
And former All-Star and current New York Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez is OK with that.
Commenting on the Acuna situation during the TV broadcast of the Mets’ game against the Baltimore Orioles, Hernandez said: “They’re killing you, they’ve lost three games, he’s hit three home runs — you gotta hit him. I’m sorry. People are not going to like that.
“You gotta hit him, knock him down — seriously knock him down if you don’t hit him. And you never throw at anybody’s head or neck. You hit him in the back, you hit him in the fanny.”
Hernandez also said he assumed Miami manager Don Mattingly directed Ureña to make the move and that it’s just part of the sport.
“That’s just part of the baseball code,” Hernandez said. “If someone’s hitting home runs, they’re leaning all over that plate. I’m sorry, I’m not gonna let you do that. Here’s one in your ribs or on your back, and let’s see if you stay in there next time.”
Hernandez was right about at least one thing: Some people did not like what he had to say.
Braves relief pitcher Peter Moylan called Hernandez a clown and tweeted that Acuna was simply “playing the game with joy.”
Hall of Famer Chipper Jones tweeted, “I’m old-school just like this broadcaster, but these comments are waaay off base!”
Ureña was ejected from the game. Acuna took the field to start the next inning but ended up determining he couldn’t continue to play. The Braves said X-rays on his elbow were negative and that a CT scan was normal.