After crushing a pitch from Arizona hurler Zac Gallen 415 feet to deep center field in the fourth inning on Sunday, Atlanta Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna was only able to advance 90 feet to first base because he watched his blast reach its eventual destination inside the ballpark instead of running right after he made contact. Believing he had mashed Gallen’s offering into the seats, Ozuna stood at home plate and admired his handiwork before the ball hit an overhang just below the line that marks a home run at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The next time Ozuna’s spot in the lineup came up in the sixth inning, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker replaced his designated hitter with Sean Murphy. Despite Murphy going 0-for-3 after entering the game, the Braves were able to secure an 8-5 victory over the Diamondbacks after Ozuna was benched for getting a mere single out of a ball that hit off the wall in center.
“I guarantee he feels worse than I do for having to take him out,” Snitker said of Ozuna.
Playing out the third year of the four-year, $65 million contract he signed before the 2021 season, Ozuna is hitting .227 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI in 44 games this season. The bulk of that production took place in May when Ozuna hit almost .300 after batting just .091 in April.
Baseball Belongs on Free TV — Especially the CubsAmerica’s pastime should be on prime time. The writers’ strike may make it possible.
A two-time All-Star, Ozuna spent his career with the Marlins and Cardinals before joining the Braves. In 1,207 games, Ozuna is a .267 hitter with 207 homers and 699 RBI. Last month, Ozuna was gifted an exquisite bottle of LOUIS XIII Cognac by his teammates and some Dom Pérignon Champagne by Snitker in recognition of the 32-year-old reaching 10 years of service time in the majors.
“It’s by no accident you get to 10 years,” Ozuna’s teammate Pillar told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You got to do a lot of things right along the way, and that’s not just statistically, on the field. It’s being a good influence to the guys around you. And I know he’s a great bridge for the Latin guys and the American guys. And it was important to celebrate it.”
It seems unlikely Ozuna’s teammates will be celebrating his latest feat, but you never know.