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MLB player given life ban for betting on own team

Tucupita Marcano in Pirates attire

Major League Baseball infielder Tucupita Marcano has been banned for life for placing hundreds of bets on the sport - including on his own team's games.

The 24-year-old was found to have placed 387 baseball bets, including 231 MLB-related bets from October 2022 to November 2023, while he was a Pittsburgh Pirates player.

Marcano, who has not played this season because of a knee injury, did not appear in any of the games concerned which came before he began a second spell with the San Diego Padres last November.

In total, MLB said Marcano bet more than $150,000 (£117,322.50) on baseball, with $87,319 (£68,296.56) of that on MLB-related bets.

Marcano denies that any outcomes in the baseball games on which he placed bets were compromised, influenced or manipulated in any way.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly, who separately placed bets on nine MLB games, has been banned for one year.

The 31-year-old Kelly bet a total of $99.22 (£77.60) for a net win of $28.30 (£22.13) from those bets.

"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," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

MLB launched an investigation into gambling after receiving information from sports betting companies.

The last active player to receive a lifetime ban for gambling had been New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell in 1924.

Three minor league players have received bans for breaching the betting rules, with Padres pitcher Jay Groome, Philadelphia Phillies infielder Jose Rodriguez and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank all declared ineligible for one year.