Ronald Acuña Jr.’s arch enemy lands with World Series champs on minor-league contract

One of the most notorious rival players in recent history is trying to win a job for 2024.
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Atlanta Braves fans who have been following the team in recent years do not need an introduction to the name José Ureña. For the uninitiated, Ureña formerly pitched for the Miami Marlins and during a 2018 series where Ronald Acuña Jr. was absolutely torching the Marlins, Ureña took matters into his own hands and hit Ronnie with a pitch resulting in benches clearing with (almost) everyone agreeing that he absolutely hit him on purpose.

Ureña's transgressions would not go unpunished as not only did he get suspended for six games, but Ronald demolished a homer off of him the following season with a very satisfying bat flip immediately afterwards. You love to see it.

Sadly, the Braves' favorite villain fell into irrelevance not long after hitting Ronnie. A back injury hampered him in 2019 and after the Marlins designated him for assignment, he has bounced around the league with cameo appearances with the Tigers, Brewers, Rockies, Nationals, and White Sox. His latest stop appears to be with the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers who signed him to a minor league deal for 2024.

Braves' favorite villain Jose Ureña trying to salvage career with the Rangers

As much fun as bashing Ureña is, it would be nice if he was a more worthy villain these days. Over the last four seasons, he has only managed a 5.59 ERA while striking out just 5.9 batters per nine innings while dealing with injuries along the way. His star has fallen so much that he only made 10 appearances in the big leagues last year. At least Bryce Harper has the common decency to terrorize the Braves on the regular while fans boo him relentlessly.

Given that Texas is over in the American League, there is going to be limited opportunities for the Braves to try to exact further revenge on Ureña. However, if he makes the Rangers' roster out of spring which is far from a certainty, the Braves do have a home series against the Rangers towards the end of April. If everything aligns, you can expect to hear a chorus of boos from the Truist Park crowd. Hopefully that is the end of it, though.


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