Former Angel David Fletcher bet with the bookie used by Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter, sources say

Los Angeles Angels' David Fletcher returns to the dugout after forced out at second base against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Minneapolis. The Twins won 9-3. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

A former teammate of Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani may have made bets with the same bookie used by Ohtani's ex-interpreter, ESPN has reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the sports reporting platform said infielder David Fletcher, who was Ohtani's Angel teammate from 2018 to 2023, placed bets with the bookmaking operation of Mathew Bowyer.

Ohtani's former Japanese language interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, recently agreed to plead guilty in federal court to one count each of bank fraud and signing a false tax return as part of a scheme to surreptitiously steal more than $17 million from Ohtani to pay off an Orange County bookmaker, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Second baseman David Fletcher wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform as he throws the ball

Fletcher was traded to Atlanta last year and had struggled since signing a five-year, $26-million contract with the Angels in 2021. He currently plays for the Gwinnett Stripers, the Braves’ minor league affiliate.

ESPN reported Friday that Fletcher placed bets on several sports, but not on baseball. According to the report, former minor leaguer Colby Schultz, identified as a close friend of Fletcher, bet on Angels games while Fletcher was with the club.

Fletcher told ESPN in March that he’d met Bowyer on multiple occasions and knew that he was a bookmaker, but denied placing bets with him, the outlet reported.

Major League Baseball rules prohibit players from betting on baseball in any circumstances and from gambling on other sports through illegal means. Violations could result in punishments that include fines, suspensions and, in cases of betting on baseball, a permanent ban from the game.

The report of gambling by Fletcher and Shultz is the latest twist in a saga that has transfixed the baseball world since The Times broke the story March 20. The newspaper reported that Ohtani’s name had surfaced in the federal investigation of Bowyer, an allegedly illegal bookmaker who lives in Orange County.

Federal officials have concluded that Othani, who has denied gambling, was a victim in the case. The two-way star, who was traded to the Dodgers late last year, is free to continue playing.

Major League Baseball said in a statement that it would "wait until resolution of the criminal proceeding to determine whether further investigation is warranted.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.