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Tucupita Marcano gets lifetime ban from MLB for betting on baseball

Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome suspended 1 year for violating league's gambling policy
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Posted at 1:44 PM, Jun 03, 2024

UPDATE (June 4): Major League Baseball on Tuesday handed down a lifetime ban for current San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano after the league's investigation found he bet on baseball games while he was as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

The following news release was issued by Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office on Tuesday morning:

“Major League Baseball announced today that following investigations by its Department of Investigations, disciplinary action has been taken against Major League players Tucupita Marcano (San Diego Padres infielder/outfielder) and Michael Kelly (Oakland Athletics pitcher); and Minor League players Jay Groome (Padres pitcher), José Rodríguez (Philadelphia Phillies infielder) and Andrew Saalfrank (Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher) for unrelated violations of MLB’s sports betting rules and policies. MLB’s investigations included interviews, thorough review of the available information in each matter, and significant cooperation from MLB’s legal sportsbook partners.”

The commissioner’s office, when specifically addressing Marcano, stated the player “has been declared permanently ineligible for violating MLB’s sports betting rules and policies, including Rule 21(d)(2)."

Details from the commissioner’s office on the investigation into Marcano:

  • Betting data shows that from October 16, 2022 through October 23, 2022, and from July 12, 2023 through November 1, 2023, Marcano placed 387 baseball bets, including 231 MLB-related bets among other bets on international baseball games through a legal sportsbook. Marcano’s MLB bets were generally parlays, which would sometimes include multiple MLB-related legs, and they would sometimes include MLB-related legs and non-MLB legs.
  • In total, Marcano bet more than $150,000 on baseball, with $87,319 of that on MLB-related bets (an average of approximately $378 per bet). Of the over 200 MLB bets Marcano placed over this period, 25 of those bets included Pirates games while he was assigned to the Pirates’ Major League Club. Marcano did not appear in any of the games on which he placed bets, however, because all of Marcano’s Pirates-related bets, and the vast majority of his bets overall, occurred during the period after he suffered a season-ending knee injury on July 24, 2023 and was receiving medical treatment at PNC Park.
  • 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. Ultimately, Marcano lost all of his parlays involving the Pirates and only won 4.3% of all of his MLB-related bets overall.
  • 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.

Additionally, the commissioner's office detailed the one-year suspension of Padres' minor league pitcher Jay Groome:

  • Betting data shows that from July 22, 2020 through July 24, 2021, Groome placed 32 MLB-related bets. Of those, 24 bets involved the Red Sox Major League Club, all of which Groome placed while he was assigned to the Red Sox’ High-A affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina. All 24 of Groome’s Red Sox bets were on the final outcome.
  • In total, Groome bet $453.74 on 30 MLB game-related bets (an average of approximately $15.12 per bet) and had a net loss of $433.54 on these bets. Ultimately, Groome only received payouts on two of his MLB bets.
  • Groome’s MLB bets included parlays, which sometimes included multiple MLB-related legs and would sometimes include MLB-related legs and non-MLB legs.
  • Groome did not appear in any of the games on which he bet, and he did not make any bets involving his assigned team. There is no evidence to suggest — and Groome denies — that any outcomes in the baseball games on which he placed bets were compromised, influenced, or manipulated in any way.

Marcano appears to be the first active major leaguer banned under the sport's gambling provision since New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell in 1924.

"This particular individual broke the rule," says baseball historian and author Andy Strasberg.

"Gambling has been going on by people in the game since the 1860s. Every player, every manager, every coach, and everyone in the front office knows the rule," Strasberg added.

Pete Rose, baseball's active career hits leader, famously agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on Cincinnati Reds games while managing the team.

Major League Rule 21, posted in every clubhouse, states betting on any baseball game in which a player, umpire, league official or team employee has no duty to perform results in a one-year suspension. Betting on a game in which the person has a duty to perform results in a lifetime ban.

"The most important thing is the integrity of the game. You can have a conflict of interest and you can't be betting on baseball especially if you are involved," says Strasberg.

"The message is they are serious and the repercussions will end your career as a professional baseball player," Strasberg concluded.


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Major League Baseball is investigating allegations that current Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano bet on baseball while he was a member of a different organization, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

According to the WSJ report, Marcano was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2023 season when he allegedly placed bets on games involving the team.

Details on the depth of the accusations against the 24-year-old Marcano were not immediately released, but the WSJ, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported Marcano could face a potential lifetime ban from MLB if it’s determined he violated the league’s sports gambling policy.

At the time of the alleged betting, Marcano was on the Pirates' injured list. His last Major League game was July 24, 2023, and it was during that contest in which Marcano suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out of action for the remainder of the season.

In a statement, the Padres said: "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."

Marcano, originally signed by San Diego as a teenager in 2016, was traded to the Pirates in July 2021.

The Padres reacquired Marcano in Nov. 2023 when they claimed him from the Pirates off waivers.

As of June 3, Marcano was listed on the Padres' 40-man roster. He has not played in a game this season as he continues to recover from injury.