During his pregame media session, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny spoke about his cleanup hitter, Marcell Ozuna, getting back on track and his ability to hit for power to all fields. There was nothing unordinary about the conversation, especially as Ozuna had five hits in his last seven at-bats.
Less than an hour later, it was announced that Ozuna had been scratched from the starting lineup. A team spokesperson shared the change was a managerial decision.
“Overslept, that’s why he was late,” shared Matheny postgame. “Just human, you know. Things happen. This guy couldn’t possibly be a better teammate in how he goes about it and couldn’t be any more regretful to not being here today on time. But, we don’t have a lot of rules. That’s one of them, you don’t get to be in the lineup…then we move forward.”
Unsure of exactly what time he arrived at the ballpark, Ozuna apologized to the team.
“My message to them was I feel sorry for that and let’s go forward,” said Ozuna. “I made a mistake. Anybody can make a mistake, we’re human.”
“Somebody was knocking at the door and I when I saw the time I said, ‘oh my God, I’m late’,” continued Ozuna. “I worried a little bit and came to the park and said sorry to my teammates, to my coach. Everybody’s human and can make a mistake at any time, today it was me.”
The apology seemed to be well-received by his Cardinals teammates.
“There’s certain guys when stuff happens you put them in like ‘yeah, I can see that’ and there’s guys that do stuff and you’re like ‘I can’t believe that happened’–I would put him in that category,” said Matt Carpenter. “He’s a good teammate and made a mistake. Learn from it and move on.”
Though not starting, Ozuna was still in uniform and stepped to the on-deck circle and was prepared to pinch-hit late but the third out was made before his spot.
photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports