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MLB shortstop Tucupita Marcano permanently banned for betting on baseball


(NEW YORK) — Pittsburgh shortstop Tucupita Marcano has been permanently banned from MLB for gambling more than $150,000 on baseball, according to the league.

Marcano, 24, faced the stiffest penalty of several baseball players penalized by the league on Tuesday. He gambled on at least 25 Pittsburgh Pirates games while he was playing for the team last year.

Oakland A’s pitcher Michael Kelly was suspended for one year for gambling on baseball as well. He was a minor leaguer at the time and placed bets on MLB teams, which limited his penalty.

Marcano, a Venezuelan native, signed with the Padres in the offseason, but has not played as he recovers from a knee injury suffered last July.

He allegedly bet $87,319 — out of the $150,000 — on 387 baseball bets, the league said. He did not play in any of the games, however, as he was recovering from the injury.

“Consistent with Marcano’s overall baseball betting activity, 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. “Ultimately, Marcano lost all of his parlays involving the Pirates and only won 4.3% of all of his MLB-related bets overall.”

MLB continued, “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.”

Kelly, 31, has played this season and been an important contributor out of the bullpen. He’s made 28 appearances and pitched to a 2.59 ERA. He pitched as recently as May 24. Kelly also pitched for the Cleveland Guardians in 2023 and Philadelphia Phillies in 2022.

He gambled just $99.22 on MLB games in October 2021 while he was a minor leaguer in the Houston Astros organization, and thus did not appear in any game he bet on, MLB said.

There were also three minor league players suspended for a year on Tuesday for gambling on baseball.

Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome, Phillies minor league infielder José Rodríguez and Diamondbacks minor league pitcher Andrew Saalfrank were all suspended. Groome betted just over $453 on games in July 2021, Rodriguez bet $724 on games in September 2021 and June and July 2022, and Saalfrank gambled $445 on games in the fall of 2021 and March 2022, according to MLB.

Any player who gambles on baseball is subject to a one-year suspension, according to the league’s Rule 21, while anyone gambling on a baseball game in which they are connected is declared permanently ineligible.

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