Former Red Sox first-round pick gets MLB suspension for sports betting

Boston Red Sox Spring Training
Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Since the betting scandal involving Ippei Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter, MLB has cracked down on illicit gambling activity within the league.

On June 4, MLB announced a series of unrelated suspensions for violations of the league's betting policy. The most severe punishment went to San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano, who has been banned for life for betting on baseball. MLB reported that Marcano placed 387 bets on baseball for an estimated total of over $150,000. He became the first player in over a century to be named permanently ineligible due to gambling infractions.

A former Boston Red Sox first-round pick and another current member of the Padres organization was disciplined for violations of the sports betting policy. Jay Groome, who was selected 12th overall by the Red Sox in the 2016 draft, has been suspended for a year for gambling violations.

According to MLB's investigation, Groome placed 32 bets on baseball from July 22, 2020-July 24, 2021, during his time with the Red Sox organization. Over half of his bets were placed on Boston Red Sox games while he was a member of the organization's High-A affiliate, Greenville Drive.

Former Red Sox first-round pick Jay Groome suspended one year for violations of MLB's sports betting policy

A's pitcher Michael Kelly, Phillies infielder José Rodríguez and Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank were each suspended for a year after MLB's investigation.

MLB's betting rules forbid players from betting on baseball or softball at any level, but wagering on any other sport is permitted. Marcano received a lifetime ban for placing bets on his own team while the other suspended players received one year for wagering on other ball clubs.

Groome is 25 years old and has yet to make his big-league debut. He struggled last season with San Diego's Triple-A affiliate — he pitched to a 8.55 ERA over 134.2 innings of work. And now he'll have to wait a lot longer for his potential big break.

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