Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna was booed by the Atlanta home crowd on Sunday in the veteran outfielder’s first appearance since he was arrested for drunk driving.
Ozuna was booked early Friday and released on bail later that morning. It was the second arrest in as many years for Ozuna, who was also arrested in May 2021 on charges of aggravated assault through strangulation and violence after police said they witnessed his wife’s assault. Those charges were dropped after he completed a trial diversion program.
Ozuna, the number 8 batter in Atlanta’s lineup against the Houston Astros, was greeted with a little booing at Truist Park on Sunday before his first at bat in the second inning. The booing was much louder after Ozuna swung out against Astros righthander Jose Urquidy.
Ozuna was booed again after another strikeout against Urquidy in the fifth inning.
The game marked the first appearance since August 14 for Ozuna, who did not play in the first six games of Atlanta’s seven-game home standings. Braves manager Brian Snitker said on Friday that he spoke to Ozuna but did not provide details of their conversation. Snitker said he doesn’t know if Ozuna will be suspended.
The Braves issued a statement Friday after Ozuna’s arrest, saying the “organization takes these matters very seriously and is clearly disappointed by the situation,” but declined further comment, citing the ongoing legal situation. Ozuna did not answer questions Friday and made a brief statement to reporters saying he “disappointed my team” and “disappointed my family.”
Ozuna, 31, is in his third season in Atlanta and in the second year of a $65 million four-year contract. He batted .338 and led the National League with 18 home runs and 56 RBI’s in 2020, but has fallen below .215 for two consecutive seasons.
Ozuna started Sunday hitting .214 with 20 home runs and 46 RBIs this season — a subpar production that led to a shorter playing time even before Friday’s arrest.
After his arrest in 2021, Ozuna was placed on administrative leave during an MLB investigation and missed Atlanta’s World Series championship run. He was then banned for 20 games under the domestic violence policy in November. The suspension was retroactive to September 10 and covered the last 24 days of the 2021 regular season, allowing him to return before the start of this season.
Ozuna’s pre-trial diversion program, which resulted in the previous charges being dropped, included 3-6 months of supervision, a 24-week family violence intervention program, at least 200 hours of community service, and an anger management course.
This report uses information from The Associated Press.