MLB

Marcell Ozuna booed by Atlanta Braves fans in first game since DUI arrest

Marcell Ozuna booed by Atlanta Braves fans in first game since DUI arrest
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Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna was booed by the Atlanta home crowd Sunday in the veteran outfielder’s first appearance since being arrested on a driving under the influence charge.

Ozuna was booked early Friday and released on bond later that morning. He was the second arrest in as many years for Ozuna, who also was arrested in May 2021 on charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and battery after police officers said they witnessed him attacking his wife. Those charges were dropped after he completed a pretrial diversion program.

Ozuna, the No. 8 hitter in Atlanta’s lineup against the Houston Astros, was greeted with a smattering of boos at Truist Park before his first at-bat in the second inning Sunday. The boos were much louder after Ozuna struck out against Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy.

Ozuna was booed again after another strikeout against Urquidy in the fifth inning. He later was lifted for pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario and finished 0-for-2 in the Braves’ 5-4 loss.

The game marked the first appearance since Aug. 14 for Ozuna, who did not play in the first six games of Atlanta’s seven-game homestand. Braves manager Brian Snitker said Friday that he spoke to Ozuna but did not provide details about their conversation. Snitker said he didn’t know whether Ozuna will face a suspension.

The Braves issued a statement Friday after Ozuna’s arrest, saying the « organization takes these matters very seriously and are obviously disappointed by the situation » but declining further comment, citing the ongoing legal situation. Ozuna did not take questions Friday and made a brief statement to reporters, saying he « disappointed my team » and « disappointed my family. »

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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 RBIs in 2020 but has dropped below .215 for two consecutive seasons.

Ozuna entered Sunday batting .214 with 20 homers and 46 RBIs this season — substandard production that led to reduced playing time even before Friday’s arrest.

Following his 2021 arrest, Ozuna was placed on administrative leave during an MLB investigation and missed Atlanta’s World Series championship run. He was then suspended for 20 games under its domestic violence policy in November. The suspension was retroactive to Sept. 10 and covered the final 24 days of the 2021 regular season, allowing him to return for the start of this season.

Ozuna’s pretrial diversion program, which led to 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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