Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to extend the administrative leave period of Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna through the end of this postseason, reports Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Ozuna has been on administrative leave since September 10 as the league investigates domestic violence allegations made against him.
The league has the authority to unilaterally place players on administrative leave for up to seven days, per the MLB – MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The leave can be extended thereafter by mutual agreement between MLB and the Players Association, and the parties have elected to formally rule Ozuna out for the remainder of this season rather than extending the leave on a weekly basis. Placement on administrative leave is not a disciplinary action and does not reflect any sort of finding in the league’s investigation. Players placed on administrative leave continue to be paid and to accumulate Major League service time.
Ozuna has not appeared in a game since bring arrested on May 29 after police responded to a domestic disturbance at his residence. Court filings at the time indicated that the responding officers saw Ozuna place his hands around his wife’s neck, throw her against a wall and strike her with a cast that was on his left hand. (He had fractured two fingers in a game the week before and was on the injured list at the time).
Felony charges originally brought against Ozuna were dropped in early August, but prosecutors moved forward with a pair of misdemeanor charges. Earlier this month, Ozuna agreed to enter into a three-to-six month domestic violence intervention program that could see those charges dropped if he completes all the required measures.
The joint Domestic Violence policy authorizes MLB to impose discipline in the absence of criminal charges. Even if both misdemeanor charges against Ozuna are ultimately dropped, he could still face a suspension depending upon the results of the league’s investigation.
Ozuna signed a four-year, $65MM contract with the Braves last offseason. He remains under contract through 2024.