VENICE, Fla. — Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna says he has addressed teammates and is sorry to followers for an arrest final yr on costs of aggravated assault by strangulation and battery after law enforcement officials mentioned they witnessed him attacking his spouse.
Ozuna returned to the group this week for the primary time since his Could 29 arrest. He was positioned on administrative depart throughout Main League Baseball’s investigation and missed Atlanta’s World Collection championship run final fall.
MLB suspended the 31-year-old retroactively for 20 video games below its home violence coverage in November, permitting him to return for the beginning of the 2022 season.
“Yeah, I talked to my group,” Ozuna mentioned Monday, the primary day of full-squad spring coaching exercises. “I spoke to my group and mentioned, ‘I am sorry, I made a mistake.'”
Ozuna was welcomed by teammates within the clubhouse Monday, and a number of other gamers gathered round his locker earlier than apply started, similar to outdated occasions.
“It is good to have him again,” teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. mentioned through interpreter. “You already know, he is a such ballplayer. You already know, on and off the sphere and, you already know, the issues that occurred off the sphere, these are challenges for everybody. Sure issues that occur off the sphere, they will occur to anybody.”
Police physique cam footage obtained by TMZ Sports activities two days after MLB introduced its suspension appeared to indicate Ozuna grabbing his spouse’s neck as officers arrived at their Georgia dwelling. The Sandy Springs Police Division mentioned in a press release in Could that it additionally noticed Ozuna throwing her in opposition to a wall and putting her with the solid on his injured left hand.
Ozuna mentioned he has accomplished the necessities of a pretrial diversion program, a situation supplied by the Fulton County District Legal professional’s workplace with a purpose to have costs dropped. This system included three to 6 months of supervision. Ozuna additionally was ordered to finish a 24-week household violence intervention program, not less than 200 hours of neighborhood service and an anger administration course.
“I discovered the whole lot,” he mentioned of counseling. “I discovered the way you deal with an individual, the way you be a greater individual, the way you be one of the best daddy, the way you be a human being. You study the whole lot from that.”
Ozuna mentioned he’s now “on the identical web page” together with his household. He mentioned he did not suppose he had ever spent alone time together with his three youngsters previous to final summer time and has been taking them to the playground and toy shops.
“I give time to my youngsters, that is an important factor,” he mentioned. “Household first. That is what I fear about proper now, my household after which coming right here, working onerous, being sincere with my teammates. That is an important factor.”
Ozuna mentioned he hoped the general public may forgive him.
“My followers, I’ll provide the greatest and I’ll be a greater individual, and I am sorry,” he mentioned.
Ozuna was requested particularly what he would say to followers who’re additionally victims of home violence.
“I simply inform them, simply deal with me as the individual that I used to be earlier than,” he mentioned. “Like, I used to be an incredible individual out within the subject. So I wish to be like that. I’ll provide you with my smile. In the event that they suppose it isn’t time to present me like good crowd, it is OK.”
Ozuna’s ban price him $1.55 million of his $12 million wage final season. He’s getting into the second yr of a $65 million, four-year contract with the Braves.