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

Marcano allegedly bet on Pirates games while he was on the team last season

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball for betting on baseball.

Along with Marcano's lifetime ban, four other players received one-year suspensions for placing unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook. Oakland A's pitcher Michael Kelly, Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome, Philadelphia Phillies minor league infielder José Rodríguez and Arizona Diamondbacks minor league pitcher Andrew Saalfrank were all found to have violated MLB's gambling policies.

MLB's Rule 21 states that “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” and “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.”

“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 release. “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.”

MLB released information on each player's gambling activity and found that Marcano made 25 bets on Pittsburgh Pirates while he was a member of the ballclub in 2023. Marcano made 387 baseball bets and 231 MLB-related bets in all from Oct. 16-23, 2022, and July 12-Nov. 1, 2023. He placed more than $150,000 in baseball bets and $87,319 on MLB-related wagers.

MLB said that Marcano did not appear in any of the games in which he placed bets and that all of his Pirates-related bets came after he suffered a season-ending knee injury on July 24, 2023. It found that Marcano lost all of his Pirates-related parlays and won just 4.3% of his MLB bets overall.

The San Diego Padres organization released the following statement to NBC 7.

"We cannot comment on violations that occurred outside of our organization.  We fully support MLB's sports betting policy and the need to adhere to all provisions of Rule 21.  We will continue to educate all members of our organization regarding their obligations under the policy."

As for the other players betting, MLB found that Kelly bet $99.22, Groome bet $453.74, Rodríguez bet $724.09 and Saalfrank bet $444.07 on MLB games.

The league said that there is no evidence to suggest that any of the games that Marcano or the other players placed bets on were compromised in any way.

Marcano made his MLB debut with the Padres in 2021 and spent the last two seasons with the Pirates. He did not appear in an MLB game in 2024.

Marcano is seemingly the first active major leaguer to be banned for gambling in 100 years. New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell was the last in 1924.

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