Dodgers star Freddie Freeman has responded to comments that his former star teammate with the Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr., made about him in a Spanish language video earlier this week.
According to translators, Acuna called Freeman “overbearing” and said he would not miss him now that he is in Los Angeles in an interview with Yancen Pujols. Freeman was asked about the comments in an interview on “MLB Tonight,” and spoke at length about his former teammate.
“Obviously I’ve heard everything that was said, but I’m going to miss Ronald, [son] Charlie is going to miss Ronald, and my family is going to miss Ronald,” Freeman said. “So that’s my side of it. I love Ronald Acuna and I can’t wait for him to get healthy and get on the field, and I think he’s great for the game of baseball.
“The talent is going to be something that is talked about for 100-plus years, because those kinds of talents don’t come around in this game.”
Acuna denied making the original comments, but several Spanish speakers, including MLB insider Hector Gomez, refuted his denial.
In regards to the “overbearing” comments, Freeman said that at times he helped enforce rules, but never viewed it as anything more than that.
“When you put on a Braves uniform in that organization, there are organizational rules,” Freeman said. “You don’t cover the A with sunglasses, you don’t wear earrings, you have your hair at a certain length, you wear uniform out for BP, you know, you don’t have eye black coming down across your whole face . Those are just organizational things.
“I guess I was one of the older guys that did have to enforce those kind of things in the clubhouse. But when you put on a Braves uniform that’s just kind of what happens there. I didn’t view it as any friction or clashes or anything like that. I loved Ronald. I still love Ronald. I’m gonna miss Ronald.”
Acuna also addressed the comments in the Braves clubhouse on Thursday, the same day Atlanta lost to the Reds, 6-3, in their first game of the season. The star outfielder is currently rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in 2021, and is expected to return a few weeks into the season.
In his comments, Acuna insisted that all of the reported friction occurred in his rookie season in 2018.
“I think the reporters exaggerated,” Acuna said. “I didn’t say anything bad about Freeman. I talked about what happened in 2018 when I came up as a rookie. The rest was blown out of proportion.”
Later, however, he said he doesn’t regret saying he doesn’t miss Freeman now that he is on the Dodgers.
“He signed with another team.,” Acuna said. :The reporter]asked me what I would miss about him. What should I miss about someone who’s on another team?”
The Braves are hoping to defend their 2021 World Series title without Freeman, who signed a mega-deal with the Dodgers in the offseason.