San Diego Padres infielder Marcano banned for life for gambling

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tucupita Marcano;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tucupita Marcano</a> was declared "permanently ineligible" for violating the league's sports betting rules and policies, MLB said (Jamie Schwaberow)

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano has been banned for life from Major League Baseball for betting on games, the league announced on Tuesday.

Michael Kelly, a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, and three minor league players were also suspended for a year for gambling on baseball games, MLB said.

"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 Robert Manfred said in a statement.

"The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century," Manfred said. "We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people."

MLB said Marcano, who has been on the injured list this season recovering from ACL surgery, has been declared "permanently ineligible" for violating the league's sports betting rules and policies.

It said the 24-year-old Venezuelan-born Padres player placed 387 bets on baseball in 2022 and 2023, including 231 bets on MLB games through a legal sportsbook.

"In total, Marcano bet more than $150,000 on baseball, with $87,319 of that on MLB-related bets," it said.

Marcano became the first active MLB player to be banned for life since New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell in 1924.

In 1989, MLB also banned Pete Rose, MLB's all-time hits leader with 4,256, for life for betting on games after his playing career was over.

Marcano, who was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time, "did not appear in any of the games on which he placed bets," the league said.

"There is no evidence to suggest —- and Marcano denies —- that any outcomes in the baseball games on which he placed bets were compromised, influenced, or manipulated in any way."

The Pirates said they were "extremely disappointed by Marcano's actions, adding, "While the thorough investigation revealed no evidence of any games being compromised, influenced, or manipulated in any way in this case, protecting the integrity of our game is paramount."

Kelly, 31, the Oakland Athletics pitcher suspended for a year, placed 10 bets totaling $99.22 on MLB games in 2021 while he was with a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros, MLB said.

"Kelly did not appear in any of the games on which he bet, and he did not make any bets involving his assigned team," the league said.

Kelly has appeared in 28 games for the Athletics this year, pitching 31.1 innings and sporting a 2.59 ERA.

"The A's were disappointed to learn of the matter involving Michael Kelly," a team statement said. "This violation occurred prior to Michael joining the A's organization and we fully support MLB's sports betting policy."

- Ohtani interpreter -

The other three players suspended for a year are Jay Groome, a pitcher for a Padres minor league affiliate, Jose Rodriguez, an infielder in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, and Andrew Saalfrank, a pitcher for an Arizona Diamondbacks minor league team.

Groome, 25, made 32 MLB-related bets in 2020 and 2021 totaling around $450, the league said, none of which involved his team.

Rodriguez, 23, bet around $750 in 2021 and 2022 on 28 MLB and three college baseball games -- none of which involved him as a player, MLB said.

Saalfrank, 26, bet $445 on 28 MLB games and one college game and did not appear in any of the games on which he placed wagers.

MLB was rocked earlier this year by revelations that the former interpreter of Shohei Ohtani had stolen nearly $17 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers star's bank account to pay off gambling debts.

Ippei Mizuhara -- Ohtani's long-time friend and confidant -- pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of bank fraud and filing a false tax return, which together could result in more than 30 years in prison.

The life ban for Marcano comes nearly two months after the NBA banned Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter for life for betting on NBA games.