St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna hits a two-run single during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Cardinals cleanup hitter Marcell Ozuna was penciled into the lineup Wednesday, but was abruptly swapped for Tyler O’Neill 30 minutes before game time.
The 27-year-old wasn’t injured or sick, it turns out he overslept.
“I just fell asleep and when I woke up, I said ‘Oh no’ when I looked at my watch,” he said. “I was late.”
The outfielder said he wasn’t confused about the game’s start time, he just slept through his alarm.
It wasn’t clear when he arrived at the ballpark, but his first appearance in the dugout came mid-game when he walked through and high fived his teammates. Ozuna, who is hitting .253 and slugging .331, said he apologized to manager Mike Matheny and his fellow Cardinals and was eager to move past the incident.
“I made a mistake. Everybody can make a mistake. We’re human, we make mistakes all the time. Today it was me,” he said.
His mistake did cost him a start, as any player who misses report time is taken out of the lineup.
“We don’t have a lot of rules. That’s one of them,” Matheny said. "This guy couldn't possibly be a better teammate or any more regretful for not being here on time. We just move forward."
Ozuna was tapped to pinch hit in the ninth, and was in the on-deck circle when the inning ended.