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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

Report: Ex-Angels infielder also bet with Ippei Mizuhara’s bookie

David Fletcher in a helmet

Sep 15, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ippei Mizuhara isn’t the only former Los Angeles Angels employee who was involved with an illegal bookie. Former Angels infielder David Fletcher reportedly was too.

ESPN’s Tisha Thompson published a report on Friday that said Fletcher placed bets with Mathew Bowyer’s illegal sportsbook operation — the same operation with which Mizuhara wagered.

Fletcher reportedly only bet on sports other than baseball. Though Fletcher reportedly did not bet on baseball, merely betting with an illegal sportsbook is against MLB rules. MLB personnel are allowed to wager on sports other than baseball so long as it’s through legal channels.

ESPN says MLB is expected to now investigate Fletcher, who is now a minor leaguer in the Atlanta Braves’ system.

Fletcher had already been mentioned in connection with this story when it first was reported in March. Fletcher is described as one of Shohei Ohtani’s best friends in baseball. The two were teammates on the Angels from 2018-2023. Mizuhara, who was Ohtani’s interpreter until being fired in March, first got connected to Bowyer at a 2021 poker game in San Diego. Bowyer had gained entry into the poker game thanks to an acquaintance of Fletcher.

Also named in Thompson’s report is Colby Schultz, who is Fletcher’s close friend. Schultz, a former minor-league player in the Kansas City Royals’ system, reportedly placed bets on baseball, including games involving Fletcher. Schultz was described as both someone who bet through Bowyer and also served as a bookie for Bowyer.

Fletcher was a sixth-round pick by the Angels in 2015. The 29-year-old made his MLB debut in 2018 and had a nice start to his career. The infielder batted .290 with a .734 OPS over 154 games in 2019. He batted .319 over 49 games in the shortened 2020 season.

The Angels signed Fletcher to a 5-year, $26 million deal prior to the 2021 season, but that contract proved to be a bust. Fletcher was hampered by a hip injury in 2022 and then was demoted to the minors last season. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves’ organization in December. Fletcher has played five games with the Braves this season but has mostly been with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.

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