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Padres Infielder Could Face Lifetime MLB Ban Over Gambling

  • Tucupita Marcano hasn’t played since July 2023 due to an ACL tear.
  • While on the Pirates’ injured list last season, he placed bets on games involving the team.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

MLB is investigating Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for a violation of the league’s gambling policies, which could result in a lifetime ban, The Wall Street Journal reported

Marcano has been accused of betting on games featuring the Pirates during the 2023 season while he was on the team’s injured list. His punishment hasn’t been finalized as negotiations between the MLB Players Association and the league are ongoing. Four other minor league players could face discipline over similar gambling offenses, according to the WSJ

“We are aware of an active investigation by Major League Baseball regarding a matter that occurred when the player in question was a member of another organization and not affiliated with the San Diego Padres. We will not have any further comment until the investigative process has been completed,” the team said in a statement. 

Marcano’s possible banishment comes at a time when professional sports are reckoning with the effects of legalized betting and an increase in betting-related incidents. In April, the NBA banned Raptors forward Jontay Porter for life after he bet on games and gave confidential information to gamblers. His banishment came weeks after Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, was revealed to have stolen more than $16 million from the two-way star to pay illegal gambling debts. In May, Mizuhara reached an agreement to plead guilty

MLB’s gambling policy allows players to bet legally on sports other than baseball. Players who wager on baseball games that don’t involve their team results in a one-year suspension, while betting on games involving their team results in a lifetime ban, made famous by Pete Rose, the game’s all-time hits leader in 1989. 

Marcano hasn’t played since July 2023, when he tore his ACL while running the bases. He was originally signed by the Padres as a teenager out of Venezuela in ’16 and made his major league debut five years later. He was traded to the Pirates in ’21 and was claimed off waivers by the team that signed him this past fall. He hit just .217 in 149 career games.

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