David Fletcher Wows as AAA Pitcher Amid MLB Gambling Investigation

Earlier this month, ESPN reported that Fletcher has been tied to the same illegal bookmaker as Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani. 

Brad Senkiw - News Editorat Covers.com
Brad Senkiw • News Editor
May 30, 2024 • 17:20 ET • 4 min read
David Fletcher Atlanta Braves MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

David Fletcher has added pitching prowess to his resume. 

The 29-year-old infielder worked from the mound Wednesday, showcasing a rarely-seen knuckleball to turn heads and stun batters for the Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate Gwinnett Stripers. Fletcher recorded six strikeouts in five innings and allowed two runs on three hits against the Norfolk Tide.

Fletcher reportedly convinced the Braves organization weeks ago that he had a mean knuckler, and when the Stripers were in dire need of a spare arm, Fletcher showed it off. He even struck out heralded MLB prospect Jackson Holiday, the Baltimore Orioles’ No. 1 draft pick in 2022. 

Role in the Ippei/Ohtani saga 

Fletcher has played in five games at the MLB level this season and hasn’t seen the field with the big-league club since April 24.

Not long after he was sent to Gwinnett, ESPN reported that Fletcher has been tied to the same illegal bookmaker as Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani. 

During his time playing with the Los Angeles Angels, Fletcher allegedly placed bets with Matthew Bowyer, who’s at the center of a federal investigation.

Fletcher, who was a former teammate of Ohtani’s for six seasons, told ESPN he was at a 2021 poker game that Mizuhara and Bowyer also attended. Multiple reports say Fletcher didn’t wager on baseball but placed bets on other sports through Bowyer.

Mizuhara pleaded not guilty as a formality earlier this month to bank and tax fraud charges after he stole more than $16 million from Ohtani’s account to pay off gambling debts owed to Bowyer. Mizuhara wagered more than $182 million illegally through Bowyer and lost more than $40.7 million.

Ohtani, who signed a $700 million contract in the offseason, was not aware that Mizuhara took money out of his bank account and has not been implicated in the sports betting scandal. 

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