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MLB investigating ex-Angels infielder David Fletcher for alleged gambling

Former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher (R) was teammates with Shohei Ohtani for six years. File Photo by Michael Goulding/UPI

May 20 (UPI) -- MLB launched an investigation on Monday into claims that former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher used an illegal bookie to gamble on sports, a source familiar with the investigation told UPI.

The investigation was first reported by ESPN, which reported on Friday that Fletcher bet on sports with the bookmaker, who also took wagers from Shohei Ohtani's former Interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Fletcher was teammates with Ohtani for six years.

ESPN reported that Fletcher did not bet on baseball.

The Angels and MLB declined to comment on the matter. The Atlanta Braves, who traded for Fletcher in December, did not immediately respond when asked about the investigation. Fletcher is permitted to play amid the probe.

Fletcher, 29, made his MLB debut in 2018 with the Angels. Fletcher currently plays for the Gwinnett Stripers, the Braves' Triple-A affiliate.

The Los Angeles Angels traded infielder David Fletcher to the Atlanta Braves in December. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
The Los Angeles Angels traded infielder David Fletcher to the Atlanta Braves in December. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

He hit .244 with 16 RBIs through 31 games this season at the minor league level. Fletcher went 2 for 8 (.250) in five games this season for the Braves. He was sent down to Triple-A in late April.

The MLB's collective bargaining agreement states that violations of rule 21 -- which includes gambling -- can result in a permanent ban from the league. A bulletin that states "no betting on baseball" is posted in every MLB clubhouse. MLB rules also specify that players are prohibited from asking others to place bets on their behalf, "knowingly benefit financially from or knowingly assist with bets placed by others."

Former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher currently plays for a Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. File Photo by Michael Goulding/UPI
Former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher currently plays for a Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. File Photo by Michael Goulding/UPI

MLB players also may not place illegal bets on any sport or event, including those with illegal bookmakers. Players are allowed to bet on sports, other than baseball, where sports betting is legal.