The Los Angeles Dodgers improved to 22-7 when Will Smith is in the lineup this season, and although he went hitless in five at-bats of an 8-6 win over the Atlanta Braves, the usually-calm catcher showed some frustration.
Smith exchanged words with Marcell Ozuna after he was struck by the backswing of the Braves’ designated hitter in the fourth inning. Ozuna flied out to left field and walked back to home plate before coming face-to-face with Smith.
Both bullpens emptied but home-plate umpire Alan Porter separated Smith and Ozuna without issue, and play resumed.
Following the Dodgers’ comeback win, Smith explained his frustration with Ozuna’s follow-through swing because he was previously hit and he’s seen other catchers be subjected to the same dangerous exchange, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I was just mad. He hit me in the head with his bat pretty hard,” Smith said. “It’s not the first time he’s done it to me. He’s done it to other catchers around the league. I just felt like there comes a point where I need to say something there. In the moment, it kind of got a little heated. It’s something he’s not doing on purpose. But you do it enough times you’d think he’d fix it.”
Smith wasn’t as demonstrative in the sixth inning, but he again had words for Ozuna before that at-bat ended on a leadoff single. Ozuna went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a walk in the series opener.
While Smith didn’t allude to such, it’s plausible his frustration and concern is heightened due to recently dealing with lingering concussion symptoms. Smith and the Dodgers were originally optimistic he would make a quick return, but the 28-year-old wound up missing 13 games.
Will Smith helping James Outman
After being named National League Rookie of the Month in April, James Outman has endured some struggles during most of May.
He recently broke out to help the Dodgers earn a comeback win, and Outman named Smith among multiple Dodgers teammates who helped him keep a positive outlook while mired in a slump.
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