Oakland Athletics pitcher suspended in MLB gambling scandal

Jun 4, 2024, 11:32 AM | Updated: 11:33 am

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Michael Kelly #47 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Texas ...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The issue of gambling in Major League Baseball continues to pose a problem for the game as five more players have been suspended–or banned–for betting on baseball.

As the baseball world awaits the sentencing of Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, for stealing $17 million from the Japanese star to pay off gambling debts, Major League Baseball announced a wave of suspensions on Tuesday:

  • Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly – 1 year
  • San Diego Padres minor league pitcher Jay Groome – 1 year
  • Philadelphia Phillies infielder Jose Rodriguez – 1 year
  • Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank – 1 year
  • San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano – lifetime ban

According to MLB’s report, “none of the five players played in any game on which they placed a bet, and all denied having any inside information relevant to the bets,” and none of the players are appealing their discipline.

More on the MLB gambling scandal

Marcano bet on 25 games while with the Pirates, but was on the injured list during all of them. Still, the 24-year-old was given a lifetime ban from baseball.

Kelly, a Oakland Athletics’ right-handed reliever, received a one-year ban after placing a total of $99 on MLB games. According to MLB’s report, data shows that from Oct. 5 to Oct. 17, 2021, Kelly placed ten bets involving nine MLB games. The pitcher was a minor league player with the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate at the time.

The bets included bets on the outcomes, over/under bets on the number of runs scored and on an individual pitcher’s strikeout total.

Over 28 appearances in 2024, Kelly holds a record of 3-2 and a 2.59 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched. Kelly also struck out 22 batters during his time with Oakland this season, but will now have to wait until June 2025 before he can return to the diamond.

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Tuesday, June 4th-Thursday, June 6th – vs. Seattle Mariners
  • Friday, June 7th-Sunday, June 9th – vs. Toronto Blue Jays
  • Monday, June 10th-Wednesday, June 12th – @ San Diego Padres
  • Thursday, June 13th-Sunday, June 16th – @ Minnesota Twins
  • Tuesday, June 18th-Thursday, June 20th – vs. Kansas City Royals

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