Will Smith was struck in the head by a backswing of Marcell Ozuna during the series opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.
That led to Smith and Ozuna exchanging some words, which the backstop explained after the game was due to some built-up frustration. While no brawl came from the incident, both bullpens emptied for a potential fight, but home-plate umpire Alan Porter separated the two players without issue.
Ozuna has a reputation for hitting catchers with his bat on his backswing, and he has now struck Smith multiple times. That led to Smith moving back as far as he could in the catcher’s box when Ozuna was batting Tuesday night, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
Will Smith said he moved "way back" tonight in the catcher's box. https://t.co/nyewysKktE
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) May 24, 2023
Smith also had some more words for Ozuna later in Monday’s game, but wasn’t as demonstrative as he was during the fourth inning. However, nothing appeared to be said in the middle game of the series.
The 28-year-old previously missed 13 games this season due to concussion symptoms, which may have affected his anger toward Ozuna.
Austin Barnes has also been clipped by Ozuna on a backswing previously, as has Philadelphia Phillies star catcher J.T. Realmuto, among others. Although it is a consistent issue for the designated hitter, he has refused to make an attempt at correcting the problem, and even places the blame on catchers for getting hit.
Aside from his controversy on the field, Ozuna has previously been involved with multiple off-the-field incidents as well. During the 2021 season, MLB suspended him 20-games for alleged domestic violence after he was arrested, although charges were not filed, and last year he was arrested for driving under the influence.
Bobby Miller credited Will Smith following MLB debut
Dodgers top pitching prospect Bobby Miller made his MLB debut on Tuesday against the Braves and battled through nerves to earn his first career win with five innings pitched and just one run allowed.
After his outing, Miller gave credit to Smith for calling a great game, which helped him have success against a tough lineup.
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