MLB Will Investigate Former Angels Player Linked To Ohtani’s Interpreter

Any player connected to any betting on baseball games could face up to a lifetime ban from the league if found guilty of doing so.

Grant Leonard - News Editor at
Grant Leonard • News Editor
May 20, 2024 • 14:11 ET • 4 min read
David Fletcher Los Angeles Angels MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

David Fletcher was teammates with Shohei Ohtani for six seasons and allegedly gambled with the same illegal bookie that Ohtani’s former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara got cinched for. 

The phrase “gambling scandal” is once again tied to Shohei Ohtani. After news broke last week about former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher allegedly placed bets with Mathew Bowyer, the Southern California bookmaker with whom Mizuhara racked up millions of dollars of gambling debts using Ohtani’s funds. The MLB opened an investigation Monday into these allegations. 

ESPN reported that a league source said that the investigation would commence, but noted that finding evidence to validate the allegations will be tough. 

“Government cooperation will be crucial in a case like this where we don’t have evidence,” the MLB source told ESPN. 

Fletcher is currently playing for the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Stripers and has yet to respond to ESPN’s multiple requests for comment. The league source also declined to confirm if the MLB has engaged law enforcement for assistance in the investigation yet. 


Any player connected to any betting on baseball games could face up to a lifetime ban from the league if found guilty of doing so. MLB players and employees are allowed to bet on sports other than baseball, but players betting with illegal bookmakers are subject to punishment at the commissioner’s discretion. 

According to multiple sources, Fletcher did not bet on baseball but did bet on other sports. His close friend and former minor league Colby Schultz wagered on baseball through Bowyer’s operation though, including on Angels games that Fletcher played in while he was on the team. 

Fletcher had previously told ESPN sources that he had never placed a bet himself with Bowyer’s organization, and had been aware of the bookie’s operation dating back to a 2021 poker game held in San Diego. This is the same poker game that was held at the Angel’s team hotel where Bowyer allegedly gained entry through an acquaintance of Fletcher, and also where Mizuhara first met Bowyer. 

Authorities accused Bowyer of sending Mizuhara’s wire information to an associate known as “Bookmaker 3,” and ESPN’s sources think that Bookmaker 3 is actually Schultz. 

Next Steps

This doesn’t seem to be an open-and-shut case, so it’ll be interesting to see how both the MLB and potentially various levels of law enforcement proceed. 

Mizuhara recently pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bank and tax fraud, though he’s expected to plead guilty at a future undisclosed date as part of a plea deal with federal authorities. 

According to multiple reports and statements, Ohtani remains clean of any wrongdoing in the case, affirming his decrees of innocence in his first public statement on the matter made back in March. 

ESPN had also previously reported that Fletcher was often described as Ohtani’s closest friend on the team when they both played for the Angels. If Fletcher did not, in fact, bet on baseball but did actually wager on other sports betting markets through Bowyer’s illegal bookmaking operation, he may only face a fine rather than a suspension. The details about Schultz betting on some games that Fletcher played in muddy the waters a bit though, and the allegation of Bowyer sending Mizuhara’s wire information to Schultz makes things even murkier. 

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