Major League Baseball has placed Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna on administrative leave as it continues to investigate domestic violence allegations made against him, reports David O’Brien of the Athletic. MLB has not made a formal announcement.
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. 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 been on the 10-day injured list since May 28 after fracturing the middle and ring fingers in his left hand. He 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 the cast that was on his hand.
Felony charges originally brought against Ozuna were dropped in early August, but prosecutors moved forward with a pair of misdemeanor charges. This week, 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.