Marcell Ozuna Returns To Braves After Domestic Violence Ban

Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna returned to the team Monday for the first time since his May 2021 arrest and says he has addressed teammates and is sorry to fans.

“I spoke to my team,” Ozuna said. “I said, ‘I’m sorry and I made a mistake.’”

Ozuna was arrested after police responded to a domestic disturbance at his Atlanta-area home in May 2021. The officers who responded said they saw the outfielder choke his wife and throw her against a wall. He was initially charged with felony aggravated assault by strangulation.

Ozuna’s felony charges were eventually reduced to misdemeanor family violence charges and the outfielder agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion program to close out the case.

ESPN reports Ozuna was welcomed by teammates in the clubhouse Monday, and several players gathered around his locker before practice began, just like old times.

"It's good to have him back," teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. said via interpreter. "You know, he's a such a good ballplayer. You know, on and off the field and, you know, the things that happened off the field, those are challenges for everyone. Certain things that happen off the field, they can happen to anyone."

Ozuna said he has completed the requirements of a pretrial diversion program — a condition he was required to fulfill in order to have charges dropped. ESPN reports the program included three to six months of supervision.

He was also was ordered to complete a 24-week family violence intervention program, at least 200 hours of community service and an anger management course.

"I learned everything," he said of counseling. "I learned how you treat a person, how you be a better person, how you be the best daddy, how you be a human being. You learn everything from that."

The league suspended the 31-year-old retroactively for 20 games under its domestic violence policy in November 2021, which allowed the outfielder to return for the start of the 2022 season.

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