MLB bans Padres SS Tucupita Marcano for life for betting on baseball

Tucupita Marcano
FILE – Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Tucupita Marcano takes a throw down to second base during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, July 7, 2023, in Phoenix. Major League Baseball has permanently banned Marcano, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, for betting on baseball and suspended the four other players for one year after finding the players placed unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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

Four other players — Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly and minor leaguers Jay Groome (Padres), Jose Rodriguez (Phillies), and Andrew Saalfrank (Diamondbacks) — were suspended for one year for placing unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook.

“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. “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.”

An investigation found that Marcano placed 387 bets on baseball, including 231 MLB-related wagers totaling over $150,000 between Oct. 16, 2022, and Nov. 1, 2023. Twenty-five of those were made on the Pittsburgh Pirates while the infielder was on their roster. However, he did not play in any of those games while he recovered from a knee injury. 

Of the 231 bets he placed, Marcano won just 4.3% of them. 

Marcano violated MLB Rule 21, which states that betting on any baseball game in which a player “has a duty to perform,” results in a lifetime ban.

The 24-year-old is the first active MLB player to be banned for life since Jimmy O’Connell of the New York Giants in 1924 after he offered Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand $500 to throw the final three games of the rr season to help the Giants win the National League pennant.

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