During the Los Angeles Dodgers/Atlanta Braves game at Truist Park on Tuesday night, Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna was confronted by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith for hitting him on the top of his head with his backswing.
Though Ozuna apologized, Smith’s clear displeasure led to both bullpens clearing.
Back in April, Smith was put on the seven-day concussion IL after feeling the effects of taking two hard foul balls to the facemask during a game in San Francisco.
Monday’s incident has become a hot topic in the baseball world, especially after a clip of Ozuna clipping Smith with a backswing last season made the rounds on Twitter.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ozuna addressed the media about the confrontation with Smith while also countering the building narrative among a few Dodgers fans that there’s malicious intent.
Smith’s sensitivity is completely understandable, but does he make an adjustment as Ozuna claims other backstops do when he comes to the plate? Or will Ozuna have to make tweaks, especially after Smith’s public confrontation?
This controversy is another spool to pull in this cross-country rivalry between two of the last three World Series champions. In a sport where even the slightest of friction can provide fuel to season-long animosities, every Ozuna at-bat will be scrutinized a bit more keenly by the Dodgers and their faithful, especially as both teams appear to be on a collision course for the NL pennant once again.