Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a significant disciplinary action, permanently banning San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano from betting on baseball. Additionally, four other players received one-year suspensions for placing unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook.

Marcano’s case marks the first permanent ban of an active major leaguer under MLB’s gambling rules since New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O’Connell in 1924. The ban was imposed after an investigation revealed that Marcano placed 387 baseball bets, including 231 wagers on MLB games, between October 2022 and November 2023. This totaled over $150,000 in bets. Notably, 25 of these wagers were on Pittsburgh Pirates games while Marcano was on the team’s roster, although he was on the injured list and did not participate in those games.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred emphasized the importance of the league’s gambling rules in maintaining the integrity of the sport. “The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans,” Manfred said. “The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century.”

Marcano’s bets were primarily on game outcomes, and he had a notably poor success rate, winning just 4.3% of his MLB-related bets. Despite his bets on the Pirates, he did not use any inside information, according to his testimony and the data provided by the sportsbook.

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In addition to Marcano’s permanent ban, four other players received one-year suspensions. Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly was suspended for betting on baseball in the minor leagues. Minor leaguers Jay Groome of San Diego, José Rodríguez of Philadelphia and Andrew Saalfrank of Arizona were also banned for one year for betting on major league games.

A tip-off from a legal sports betting operator prompted the league’s decision, which led to the investigation and subsequent punishments. MLB clarified that none of the players involved bet on games in which they played, and all denied having used inside information for their wagers.

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