June 5, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

MLB Hits Tucupita Marcano with Lifetime Ban, Suspends Four Others

While the Padres' player faced a lifetime ban, four other Minor and Major League players were suspended for one year

Major League Baseball (MLB) announce disciplinary actions against several Major and Minor League players over betting rules breaches. Details regarding the sanctions against five players emerged Tuesday with the League confirming that it enforced penalties under Major League Rule 21 (D)(2) and 21 (D)(1).

MLB confirmed that the strict action follows a probe led by its Department of Investigations. This investigation stemmed from information supplied to the MLB by a licensed sports betting operator in March 2024. The data uncovered previous baseball betting activity from accounts related to both Major and Minor league players.

Tucupita Marcano, the San Diego Padres infielder/outfielder, faced the toughest sanction out of all players. The player was hit with a permanent ban from baseball after the MLB probe uncovered that he placed 387 baseball bets between 2022 and 2023.

Marcano’s betting activity involved 231 MLB-related bets which were placed via a licensed sportsbook operator. Overall, the Padres infielder/outfielder wagered a sum north of $150,000 on baseball. From that total, some $87,000 was wagered on MLB games.

Four Players Were Banned for One Year

As noted, in addition to Marcano, four other players faced ineligibility due to betting violations. Unlike the Padres infielder/outfielder, the other players were hit with a suspension from baseball for a period of one year.

The list of affected players included Oakland Athletics’ Michael Kelly, the Padres’ Jay Groome, the Philadelphia Phillies’ José Rodríguez and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Andrew Saalfrank. Due to breaches of the MLB’s betting rules, each of the players was banned for one year.

Describing the betting violations, the MLB said that Kelly placed a total of 10 wagers with nine involving Major League games. The player’s betting activities date back to 2021 and he spent a total of $99.22.

On the other hand, the MLB found out that Groome placed a total of 32 bets on MLB. This happened between 2020 and 2021. Overall, Groome spent $453.73 on a total of 30 wagers for MLB games.

Rodríguez was found to have placed a similar number of bets. The Phillies’ player wagered on baseball a total of 31 times between 2021 and 2022. Of that total, 28 bets were related to MLB games. In total, Rodríguez spent $749.09 on baseball wagers.

Saalfrank’s betting activities date to 2021 and 2022. At the time, the Diamondbacks’ player placed a total of 29 baseball wagers, spending a total of $445.87.

MLB Remains Dedicated to Ensuring the Integrity of Baseball

Amid the expansion of betting and the many cases of collegiate and professional athletes breaching the rules recently, the respective leagues organize training and education sessions. Similar is the case for MLB, which focuses on raising awareness through programs and encouraging athletes, coaches and other personnel to follow the established rules.

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.

Rob Manfred, commissioner at the MLB

Rob Manfred, MLB’s commissioner, reaffirmed the League’s dedication in enforcing the rules and protecting the integrity of the sport. “The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century,” he added.

Finally, Manfred said that the MLB will continue to monitor betting activities, organize educational programs and raise awareness of the importance of ensuring the integrity of baseball.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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