Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna expresses disappointment after DUI arrest

Marcell Ozuna expressed disappointment and kept his comments short in the Braves clubhouse Friday afternoon, nearly 12 hours after his arrest for DUI.

“Disappointed my team, disappointed my family,” Ozuna said while meeting with reporters in the Braves clubhouse. “Don’t have anything more to say. It’s a legal matter.”

Ozuna was arrested in Gwinnett County earlier Friday on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, Norcross police said.

Ozuna, 31, was taken into custody on Beaver Ruin Road and booked into the Gwinnett County jail shortly after 4:30 a.m., a Norcross police spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition to the charge of “DUI less safe,” he also is facing a charge of failure to maintain lane.

According to an incident report obtained by the AJC, Ozuna told the officer who pulled him over that he drank “three or four” beers earlier in the night. Ozuna submitted to a field sobriety test, but was placed under arrest when he refused a breath test, the report said.

Ozuna posted a $1,830 bond and was released from the jail Friday morning.

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Asked if this incident could become a distraction for the Braves players, manager Brian Snitker said, “No. I think everything’s been said. We’re disappointed that it happened, but we’re going to go on.”

When asked whether Ozuna might face any discipline from the team, Snitker answered: “I can’t answer that. I’m the wrong guy to ask.”

Snitker also was asked if he thinks Ozuna still deserves a spot on team.

“I don’t know that I need to answer that either,” Snitker said. “It’s one of the things that I think, as an organization and a team, we’re disappointed, and we’re just going to go on from there. I’m not going to get into that.”

President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos was not made available for comment, but in a statement released by the Braves on Friday, the team said: “The Atlanta Braves are aware of Marcell Ozuna’s arrest this morning and are still gathering all the facts pertaining to the incident. Our organization takes these matters very seriously and are obviously disappointed by the situation. As this is a legal matter, we will have no further comment until the process is complete.”

Ozuna had not played in a game since Sunday, missing all four games of the Braves’ critical home series against the New York Mets. The Braves are opening a three-game series Friday night at Truist Park against Houston. When asked if he would have put Ozuna in the lineup Friday without the morning incident, Snitker replied, “I don’t know. Probably not.”

Snitker also was asked if Ozuna, who is hitting .214 this season with 20 home runs, was out of lineup for performance reasons.

“Just performance, yeah,” Snitker said. “Got other guys doing pretty good.”

Snitker said he found out about Ozuna’s incident about mid-morning and spoke with Ozuna later, but wouldn’t reveal what he said.

Ozuna was pulled over in his 2021 Mercedes-Benz SUV with Florida tags shortly after 3:30 a.m., the incident report said. A police officer on patrol was driving west on Beaver Ruin Road near Alston Trace when the Mercedes passed him heading the other direction “at a high rate of speed,” the report said. The officer wrote that he also saw the Mercedes crossing over the center line and into the eastbound lanes.

Though the speed limit on that section of road was 35 mph, the report said, the officer accelerated to nearly 90 mph to catch up with the Mercedes. Ozuna was not cited for speeding.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The officer stopped the Mercedes, which pulled into a strip mall at 2077 Beaver Ruin Road, the report said. The officer wrote that he asked Ozuna what he was doing in Norcross and the outfielder respond, “The party.” Ozuna later told the officer he was going to an after-hours club nearby. Another man was in the passenger seat of Ozuna’s car, but he was not identified.

The report said that when Ozuna stepped out of the car to speak with the officer, he said, “If I’m drunk, if I can’t drive, I do like this.” Ozuna then mimicked handing over his car keys to the officer.

The officer had Ozuna perform all three standard field sobriety tests and noted mixed results for the Braves player, the report said. When the officer asked Ozuna to submit to an alcohol-sensing breath test, Ozuna refused.

“I can’t do that. If you want to take me to jail, take me to jail because I can’t do that,” Ozuna told the officer, according to the report. At that point, the officer placed Ozuna under arrest.

The incident comes 15 months after Ozuna was arrested in connection with a domestic assault at his Sandy Springs home. He was accused of strangling his wife, Genesis, during an argument and throwing her against a wall before striking her with the cast covering his broken fingers.

ExploreBraves’ Marcell Ozuna accused of choking, hitting wife

Ozuna initially was charged with felony aggravated assault, but the charges later were reduced to battery and simple assault with family-violence enhancements. As a first offender, Ozuna agreed to enter the pretrial diversion program.

MLB placed Ozuna on administrative leave for the 2021 season while the league investigated. Ozuna was retroactively suspended for 20 games without pay.

Ozuna apologized to his teammates and fans at spring training in March.

“My fans, I’m going to give you the best,” Ozuna said, “and I’m going to be a better person, and I’m sorry.”

Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.