MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 6/5/2024

Marcano banished for life for betting on his team; 4 others suspended.

Stay updated on everything baseball with our morning MLB News & Moments articles. We’ve got you covered to keep you in the know.

There is a lot to cover today, but first a flashback to another dark day in MLB history. That was 50 years ago Tuesday, when the team in Cleveland held a 10-cent beer night. It came against a Texas Rangers team that Cleveland had some bad blood with and, well, things did not go well. Read more about this from The Athletic’s Zack Meisel and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.


Today’s Headlines


Marcano Banned For Life, 4 Others Suspended


As you walk into any of the 30 MLB clubhouses, there is a sign with Rule 21 on it. Rule 21 is the one that explains, among other things, that gambling on baseball is against baseball’s policy, and any player, member of the coaching staff, or other club personnel faces a suspension for violating the rule. So it is befuddling that Tucupita Marcano, an infielder-outfielder in the San Diego Padres organization with 149 games of MLB experience, placed 25 bets in 2023 on the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team for which he played at the time. Because he bet on his team, Marcano on Tuesday was suspended for life by MLB. MLB’s investigation showed that Marcano, 24, placed bets on baseball from Oct. 16-22, 2022, and July 12-Nov. 23, 2023, wagering a total of $150,000. Marcano sustained a season-ending knee injury on July 24 and hasn’t played at any level this season after the Padres claimed him off waivers in the offseason. MLB said there is “no evidence” that any games were “compromised” by the actions of Marcano. Marcano is the first player since Pete Rose in 1989 to receive a lifetime ban for gambling.

Four other players—right-handed reliever Michael Kelly, currently in the majors with the Oakland A’s, and three minor-leaguers, left-handed reliever Andrew Saalfrank of the Arizona Diamondbacks, second baseman Josè Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Phillies and left-handed starter Jay Groome of the Padres—were suspended one year for betting on baseball but not their team. Saalfrank pitched in three World Series games last season with the D’backs. 

According to MLB:

 Kelly made 10 MLB wagers in October 2021 when he was a Houston Astros minor-leaguer, including three Astros games. Because he was in the minors, it was not considered to be bets involving his team. The bets totaled $99.22.

Similarly, Saalfrank had 28 MLB bets, including three on the big-league Diamondbacks. His wagers were for a combined $444.07.

Rodriguez was in the minors with the Chicago White Sox when he placed seven bets surrounding the major-league team among 28 overall for a total of $724.09. The bets were placed in September 2021 and from June-July 2022.

Groome was a Boston Red Sox prospect during the July 2020-July 2021 timeframe in which he made 24 bets on the parent club among the 30 total on MLB. He wagered $473.74.

None of the five players is appealing their suspension.

While MLB has already dealt with one gambling situation involving a superstar player, there is one left to be resolved. That is with David Fletcher, currently a minor-leaguer in the Atlanta organization. Fletcher is alleged to have made bets with an illegal bookmaker, but not on baseball.


Mizuhara Pleads Guilty, MLB Clears Ohtani


MLB closed its book on the investigation into Shohei Ohtani’s potential involvement with gambling when the former interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers superstar entered a guilty plea in federal court to one count of bank fraud and one count of filing a false tax return after funneling nearly $17 million to an illegal bookmaker to cover bets. Ippei Mizuhara faces a lengthy prison term when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 25, which could come in the middle of the World Series. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, while the tax charge maxes out at three years. Mizuhara will repay Ohtani the nearly $17 million as well as $1 million to the IRS as part of his plea agreement. In a released statement, MLB said: “Based on the thoroughness of the federal investigation that was made public, the information MLB collected, and the criminal proceeding being resolved without being contested, MLB considers Shohei Ohtani a victim of fraud and this matter has been closed.” Mizuhara did not bet on baseball.


Fried Fans 13


While it is too early to talk about award contenders, Atlanta left-hander Max Fried is pitching like the ace of a six-time defending division champion. Fried struck out a career-high 13 over seven innings, allowing three runs in Atlanta’s 8-3 road win over the Boston Red Sox. Fried, who retired the first seven batters of the game, including striking out the side in the first inning, allowed 15 runs in his first four starts of the season but has bounced back by surrendering just 12 in his last eight starts for a 2.93 ERA.



The Nomad A’s?


The ink is barely dry on their official moving papers and the Oakland A’s are already raising eyebrows in Las Vegas. In their latest ploy, the A’s are seeking to play as many as eight regular-season games outside of Las Vegas once the team moves there, whenever that could realistically happen (the team says 2028). That is basically 10% of their home schedule, which factors into all of the financial projections the team presented when trying to get financing for their proposed $1.5 billion stadium which included $380 million from the public. The eight-game proposal is part of the relocation agreement still being negotiated which will be voted on July 18.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Norby’s No. 1 Is A Blast


Following an 0-for-3 performance in his MLB debut Monday, Baltimore Orioles rookie second baseman Connor Norby was hitless in three more at-bats Tuesday. What happened next didn’t make a difference in the Orioles’ 10-1 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays, but it meant the world to Norby as it was his first MLB hita two-run homer.



Jonesing Ohtani At 101


Jared Jones takes a back seat to a certain other Pittsburgh Pirates rookie who was taken No. 1 overall in last year’s draft. But Jones is proving to be just as valuable. He proved that in a showdown with Ohtani in the first inning, blowing a 101 mph heater past the left-handed-hitting slugger. To make it all better, Jones was facing his hometown team for the first time in his brief MLB career. Jones’ Pirates won 1-0.



Stick To TV


NBA player-turned-TV-commentator Kendrick Perkins showed up at Fenway Park and decided to try and take some hacks. Well, they certainly were hacks. Perkins swings remind me of 50 Cent’s attempt at a ceremonial first pitch.



No Giraffes In West Virginia?


Former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Jon Kruk, now a TV analyst for the team, told a tall tale Tuesday.



Injuries and Other Moves


For the second time in recent days, the Astros lost a starting pitcher to a season-ending elbow injury. This time it is right-hander Cristian Javier, who will undergo Tommy John surgery. Fellow right-hander José Urquidy, who had yet to pitch in the majors in 2024, left a recent rehab start and will consult with a surgeon on whether he needs the same procedure.

New York Yankees right-handed starter Gerrit Cole (right elbow discomfort) made his first rehab appearance, throwing 45 pitches over 3⅓ innings at Double-A. Cole, who struck out five, said his return “should be right around the corner.”

⚾ White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr. (strained right hip flexor) was activated off the 10-day injured list, while outfielders Tommy Pham (sprained left ankle) and Dominic Fletcher (strained left shoulder) went on the IL.

Washington Nationals right-handed starter Trevor Williams (strained right flexor muscle), one of the few bright spots on a struggling team, went on the 10-day injured list. Left-hander DJ Herz was called up from Triple-A and started Tuesday in his MLB debut.

⚾ Outfielder Avisaíl García was designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins. Garcia is still owed roughly $24 million on the four-year, $53 million contract that runs through 2025. Garcia, who lives in the Miami area, slashed just .217/.260/.322 with 13 homers over 153 games in less than 2½ seasons with the Marlins.

Third baseman-outfielder Brian Anderson, who opted out of a minor-league deal with the Seattle Mariners over the weekend, signed a major-league deal with Atlanta, which is searching for a solution following the season-ending knee injury to right fielder and 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr.

Right-handed starter Julio Teheran signed a minor-league contract with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles lost two starting pitchers, left-hander John Means and right-hander Tyler Wells, to season-ending injuries last week. Teheran signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles in spring training, but was released before Opening Day after being told he wouldn’t make the roster. He made one start for the New York Mets before again being released, then latched on with the Chicago Cubs on a minor-league deal, but opted out last weekend.

St. Louis Cardinals right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton will have season-ending surgery on his right flexor tendon.

Texas Rangers icons Adrián Béltre and Michael Young were named managers for the Futures Game, which the Rangers are hosting this year.


Articles You Should Read


How did MLB not see Imanaga’s impending success? —Patrick Mooney, Sahadev Sharma and Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic

Why Stone is reminding the Dodgers of a famous ace — Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times

Oakland Ballers set (mostly) for first home game — Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


Starting Pitcher Roundup

Hitter Performances

Reliever Ranks

Starting Pitcher Streamers

Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

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