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Former Angels player David Fletcher illegally gambled with same bookie as Ippei Mizuhara, per report

Written by on May 17, 2024

Former Los Angeles Angels infielder and current Atlanta Braves minor leaguer David Fletcher placed bets with Mathew Bowyer, the illegal bookmaker at the center of the Ippei Mizuhara scandal, reports ESPN. Fletcher is not accused of gambling on baseball, but his friend Colby Schultz, a former Kansas City Royals minor leaguer, reportedly did bet on MLB games, including Angels games that Fletcher played in.

Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani’s friend and longtime interpreter, is alleged to have stolen over $16 million from Ohtani to cover his gambling debts. Ohtani and Fletcher were teammates with the Angels from 2018-23 and are said to be close friends. Here are more details from ESPN:

In the March interview, Fletcher told ESPN that he was present at the 2021 poker game in San Diego where Mizuhara first met Bowyer. Fletcher said he did not introduce the interpreter to the bookie but that Bowyer gained entry to the poker game at the team hotel through an acquaintance of Fletcher’s.

Fletcher also told ESPN in March he had met Bowyer once before while playing golf and that he knew Bowyer was a bookmaker at the time of the poker game. He said that he never placed a bet himself with Bowyer’s organization.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California declined to comment when reached by CBS Sports Friday evening. An attorney representing Bowyer did not immediately return a request for comment.    

MLB players and team personnel are forbidden from betting on baseball, even legally. They can bet on other sports legally, but gambling on sports is illegal in California. MLB will undoubtedly investigate Fletcher. Any discipline, including a lifetime ban, is up to the discretion of commissioner Rob Manfred. Pete Rose was given a lifetime ban after admitting he bet on baseball.

Bowyer is under federal investigation and Mizuhara’s and Fletcher’s names came up during the investigation. Mizuhara initially claimed Ohtani agreed to cover his debt, though he later admitted it was a lie. He allegedly stole from Ohtani through a series of wire transfers, sometimes impersonating Ohtani over the phone to complete the transaction. Prosecutors have declared Ohtani a victim in the case and say he did not participate in any gambling.

Mizuhara entered a not guilty plea earlier this week. That was merely a formality as he negotiates a plea deal with prosecutors. He is facing up to 33 years in prison for bank fraud, among other charges.

Fletcher, 29, signed a five-year extension worth $26 million in April 2021. The Angels traded him to the Braves in what amounted to a salary dump trade this past offseason. Atlanta placed Fletcher on waivers, but he went unclaimed. He is a career .276/.323/.358 hitter.

The post Former Angels player David Fletcher illegally gambled with same bookie as Ippei Mizuhara, per report first appeared on CBS Sports.

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