MLB hands lifetime ban to Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano for betting on baseball; 4 others suspended

Marcano allegedly bet on multiple Pirates games last season when he was on the team's injured list

Major League Baseball has banned San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano from the game for life after its internal investigation discovered that Marcano placed bets on baseball games involving his own team while on the injured list during the 2023 season.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on MLB's latest gambling scandal.

According to MLB's press release, Marcano, 24, placed 387 baseball-related bets from Oct. 16, 2022, to Nov. 1, 2023, totaling over $150,000; 231 of those bets were placed on MLB games (for a total of $87,319), and 25 of those 231 bets involved the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team he was on at the time, though he was on the injured list and not playing due to a season-ending knee injury (from which he is still recovering). The majority, but not all, of Marcano's bets were placed after he was injured.

MLB's investigation found that Marcano lost every parlay involving the Pirates and won only 4.3% of his MLB bets. Marcano denies that he compromised or manipulated the Pirates games he bet on, and MLB found no evidence to contradict that.

Marcano and the Players Association have yet to comment.

The Padres released a statement Monday after the Wall Street Journal published their report.

“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," the Padres said in a statement, via The Wall Street Journal. "We will not have any further comment until the investigative process has been completed.”

MLB also announced that four other players have been suspended one year for gambling on baseball. Those are Oakland Athletics reliever Michael Kelly and three minor leaguers: Padres pitcher Jay Groome, Philadelphia Phillies infielder José Rodríguez and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank.

Marcano held a career-high .233 batting average last season with the Pirates. He had 18 RBI, 47 hits and three home runs in 75 games. He tore his ACL in late July and missed the rest of the season as a result.

The gambling allegations against Marcano are the latest in the league and the sports world in general in recent months. Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter pleaded guilty to charges after he reportedly stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani to cover his illegal gambling losses. Ohtani was not involved in that scandal, which dominated the sport in the lead-up to the MLB season.

Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter was given a lifetime ban from the NBA earlier this year after the league said he purposefully limited his participation in games for betting purposes and bet on games. Porter, the brother of Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr., was on a two-way deal with the franchise.

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paquetá was charged by the English Football Association for allegedly breaching its betting rules last month. Former Alabama baseball head coach Brad Bohannon was fired after a friend of his tried to make a $100,000 bet on the team. The NFL has cracked down on gambling, too, as several players have been hit with suspensions for violating gambling rules either while in the league or while in college.

Like in the NFL, Major League Baseball's gambling policy prohibits players from placing any bets on baseball, though players are allowed to bet on other sports legally. Any player who places a wager on a baseball game involving a team other than their own will receive a one-year suspension, but betting on your own team leads to a lifetime ban.