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Report: Two Baseball Players Made Bets With Mizuhara’s Bookie

 Leif Skodnick  |    May 18th, 2024 7:56am EDT

Shohei Ohtani talks with David Fletcher of the Los Angeles Angels before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on August 20, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Two professional baseball players – former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher and Colby Schultz – made bets with Mathew Bowyer, the alleged bookmaker with whom Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for Shohei Ohtani, made bets that ultimately led to Mizuhara’s guilty plea to a federal bank fraud charge, ESPN’s Tisha Thompson reported Friday evening.

Sources told ESPN that Fletcher, who played for the Angels from 2018-23 and has been described as one of Ohtani’s closest friends, and Schultz, a childhood friend of Fletcher who played in the Kansas City Royals organization from 2018-20, made wagers on sports with Bowyer. According to the report, Fletcher did not bet on baseball, but Schultz did – and wagered on Angels games in which Fletcher was playing.

Major League Baseball rules allow players and staffers to wager on sports other than baseball, but only through legal sports betting outlets. A player or staffer who bets on baseball games will be suspended for a year under Rule 21, and a player or staffer who bets on games in which they have a duty to perform will be banned for life.

The rule was imposed shortly after the ‘Black Sox Scandal,’ in which players on the Chicago White Sox took money from gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight players were banned for life as a result of the scandal.

Fletcher signed a five-year, $26 million contract extension with the Angels in 2021, but was dealt to the Braves this past offseason. He has appeared in five games with Atlanta this season, and has spent the bulk of the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

The infielder previously told ESPN that he and Ohtani “were good friends” who would “talk on the bus and at the hotel.” He also told ESPN that while he knows Bowyer, he never wagered with him.

Ohtani’s former translator, Ippei Mizuhara, pled guilty in federal court to a single count of bank fraud for arranging wire transfers totaling nearly $17 million from Ohtani’s bank accounts to associates of Bowyer without Ohtani’s knowledge or approval, often impersonating Ohtani to get bankers to approve the transfers.

The documents charging Mizuhara with bank fraud refer to a person identified only as “Bookmaker 3,” who sources told ESPN is Schultz.

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Leif Skodnick