MLB gambling scandal: Padres' Tucupita Marcano banned for life for betting on baseball games

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano has been permanently banned from Major League Baseball after violating the league’s gambling policy, MLB announced on Tuesday. Marcano’s ban was accompanied by one-year suspensions for four other players.

MLB’s press release revealed the following as part of its investigation into Marcano’s gambling:

In total, Marcano bet more than $150,000 on baseball, with $87,319 of that on MLB-related bets (an average of approximately $378 per bet). Of the over 200 MLB bets Marcano placed over this period, 25 of those bets included Pirates games while he was assigned to the Pirates’ Major League Club. Marcano did not appear in any of the games on which he placed bets, however, because all of Marcano’s Pirates-related bets, and the vast majority of his bets overall, occurred during the period after he suffered a season-ending knee injury on July 24, 2023 and was receiving medical treatment at PNC Park.   

Marcano, 24, was signed by the Padres as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2016. He was traded to the Pirates in 2021 with Jack Suwinski for Adam Frazier and last November went back to the Padres on waivers. He hasn’t played a game in 2024 due to a torn ACL. 

MLB rules stipulate that players are permitted to legally gamble on non-diamond sports, but they cannot gamble on baseball or softball at any level. A player caught gambling on teams other than his own faces a one-year suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban if he’s found having gambled on his own team, as Marcano has been accused of.

Earlier this season, Ippei Mizuhara — Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter — was charged with stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani to pay off gambling debts to an illegal bookie. He faces a maximum of 33 years in prison. Braves minor-leaguer David Fletcher is also being investigated by MLB for placing bets with the same illegal bookmaker that Mizuhara used. Neither Mizuhara nor Fletcher is alleged to have gambled on baseball, but betting on any sport through illegal channels is also forbidden by MLB. 

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