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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: Oakland Athletics reliever Michael Kelly and minor-league players Jay Groome (Padres pitcher), José Rodríguez (Philadelphia Phillies infielder) and Andrew Saalfrank (Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher).

MLB received data from a legal sports betting operator concerning baseball gambling activity from accounts that belonged to the above players, the league announced. Under MLB's rules, personnel are allowed to partake in sports gambling provided that it is legal in their jurisdiction and that they do not bet on diamond sports -- that is, baseball or softball. Each player violated the second part of that.

None of the players are appealing their suspension.

"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," commissioner Rob 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. 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. Since the Supreme Court decision opened the door to legalized sports betting, we have worked with licensed sports betting operators and other third parties to put ourselves in a better position from an integrity perspective through the transparency that a regulated sports betting system can provide. MLB will continue to invest heavily in integrity monitoring, educational programming and awareness initiatives with the goal of ensuring strict adherence to this fundamental rule of our game."

The Pirates, for their part, issued the following statement:

"We are extremely disappointed of Tucupita's actions and are fully supportive of Major League Baseball's ruling. The Pirates, along with MLB, Players Association, and every club, work to ensure all involved within our game are aware of the rules and policies around gambling. 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."

Here's what you need to know about Marcano, the other players, and MLB's history of gambling penalties.

Marcano banned for life

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 since last July after tearing his ACL.

MLB's investigation found that Marcano didn't just bet on baseball frequently -- he's claimed to have gambled more than $150,000 across nearly 400 baseball bets, including on MLB and international contests -- but that he even bet on his own team, then the Pirates. "[Almost] all of Marcano's Pirates bets were on which club (the Pirates or their opponent) would win the game or whether there would be more or less than a certain number of runs scored in the game," MLB said in a press release.

It's notable that Marcano did not appear in any of the games that he bet on because of his injury. He also denied having inside information that influenced his bets. MLB estimates that he won just 4.3% of his MLB-related gambles.

Other players didn't bet on own games

As for the other players -- Kelly, Groome, Rodríguez, and Saalfrank -- they all placed bets on MLB games that they were not part of themselves. They did, however, bet on games played by their organization's major-league team while they were in the minors. None of them bet on baseball with the frequency that Marcano, either.

Here's a complete breakdown of the data MLB provided on the four players' bets:

PlayerMLB betsAverage $ per betNet

















Kelly, 31, is the most notable of the bunch given that he was a member of the Athletics' active roster. In 28 games this season, he had amassed a 2.59 ERA (151 ERA+) and a 2.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Kelly, then with the Astros' Triple-A team, placed 10 bets on nine MLB games (including three Houston games) between Oct. 5, 2021 through Oct. 17, 2021. In total, he bet $99.22 and won five of the bets, putting him at a net win of $28.30.

Groome, assigned to the Red Sox's High-A team, made 32 bets on MLB games between July 22, 2020 through July 24, 2021, including 24 on Boston games. He bet $453.74 and lost $433.54. He received payouts on just two bets.

Rodríguez, who was playing for the White Sox's Double-A team, made 31 baseball bets on Sept. 30, 2021, and from June 5, 2022 through July 30, 2022, including on several college baseball games. In total, he bet $749.09 on baseball, $724.09 of which went to MLB-related bets.

Saalfrank, who was on the injured list in the Diamondbacks' Low-A affiliate, made 28 MLB-related bets and one on college baseball games between Sept. 9, 2021 and Oct. 29, 2021 and on March 9, 2022. He bet $445.87 on baseball, with $444.07 of that on MLB-related bets. He had a net loss of $272.64 on MLB bets, losing all but five of his bets. He also lost his $1.80 college bet. Saalfrank pitched in two games in the majors for the Diamondbacks this year and in the 2023 playoffs for Arizona, including three games in the World Series.

MLB's gambling policy

As noted in the introduction, MLB allows personnel to gamble on sports provided that it's legal in their territory and that it's on non-diamond sports. The individuals suspended on Tuesday were found to have violated Rule 21, which features two notable points.

The first, violated by the non-Marcano players, states: "Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year." 

The other, violated specifically by Marcano, states: "Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible."

Other MLB gambling scandals

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. Earlier this year, CBS Sports delved into more detail on other historical baseball gambling scandals