Braves' Marcell Ozuna Agrees to Diversion Program After Domestic Violence Charge

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2021

ATLANTA, GA  MAY 23:  Atlanta left fielder Marcell Ozuna (20) reacts after lining out during the MLB game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves on May 23rd, 2021 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna reached a negotiated resolution Thursday that will see him enter a diversion program, which would see the domestic violence charges against him dropped if he completes the terms of the agreement.

Shaddi Abusaid of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Ozuna was placed on six months of supervision, must undergo a 24-week family violence intervention program and needs to complete at least 200 hours of community service.

Ozuna originally faced felony charges for allegedly assaulting his wife, Genesis, in May, but the counts were later reduced to misdemeanor family violence battery and misdemeanor simple assault. He must avoid "violent contact" with his wife as part of the deal's terms, per Abusaid.

Fulton County deputy district attorney Simone Hylton said if the other requirements are completed early, the supervision can be terminated after three months and the charges will be dropped.

"Hopefully once it's completed, I won't see you again," Fulton County magistrate judge Brandy Brooks told Ozuna during the court hearing, which took place over Zoom.

The 30-year-old from Dominican Republic was placed on the injured list in late May after suffering two fractured fingers on his left hand. While the original timetable for recovery was six weeks, he's remained on the IL while MLB handles its own investigation into the matter.

Michael LaScala, Ozuna's attorney, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he's hopeful the legal resolution can lead to the conclusion of the league's probe as well.

"Ultimately, it will be up to Major League Baseball. We're optimistic that the MLB will take a look at this," he said. "I hope to see him in a Braves uniform again soon."

The Braves haven't commented on the situation since their initial statement in May:

Atlanta Braves @Braves

Statement from the Atlanta Braves: <a href="https://t.co/qISsfrUAiL">pic.twitter.com/qISsfrUAiL</a>

Ozuna signed a four-year, $65 million contract extension with Atlanta in February after finishing sixth in National League MVP voting in 2020.

His absence, combined with a season-ending torn ACL suffered by superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. in July, led the Braves to acquire multiple outfielders ahead of the trade deadline—Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson and Eddie Rosario—to bolster the lineup for the stretch run.

Atlanta (73-65) holds a slight 2.5-game advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies (71-68) in the NL East race with 24 games left on its regular-season schedule.

MLB hasn't provided a timetable for the completion of its investigation.