Yu Darvish Cleared of Wrongdoing by Major League Baseball after Gambling Probe
Major League Baseball has cleared Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish of any wrongdoing in the illegal gambling case of Yu’s brother, Sho Darvish. The probe into a possible gambling connection between the two brothers was initiated in response to Shu Darvish’s arrest in October 2015 by Japanese authorities.
Sho Darvish was arrested as one of 3 individuals alleged to have operated an illegal gambling ring in Osaka, Japan. Five other people were arrested for gambling in the Sho Darvish betting ring. The operation took a total of 1800 low-stakes bets over the months.
The Ozaka Police Department’s year-long investigation uncovered that the Texas Rangers’s star pitcher’s brother had placed bets on games involving Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball.
Never Accused of Wrongdoing
Major League Baseball never accused Yu Darvish of wrongdoing. A MLB spokesman told the Japan Times via email that the league office investigated Darvish’s possible connection to a gambling ring, as they would have any Major League player who’s brother had been arrested under such circumstances. Japanese authorities, whose long investigation would have turned up such a fact, said they never suspected Yu Darvish is connection to his brother’s case.
In a statement released Tuesday, on the day the investigation was launched, Yu Darvish said he had never been involved with gambling activities. His statement read, “While I understand that Major League Baseball must conduct an investigation, I am certain that they will find that I had no involvement in this matter whatsoever. I will not comment on this matter again, out of respect for Major League Baseball’s investigation, and I am focused on preparing for the upcoming season.”
Yu Darvish’s Injury Status
The 29-year old Yu Darvish is coming off a season in which he did not pitch for the Texas Rangers. He is returning from Tommy John surgery and is expected to regain his position in the Texas Rangers starting rotation. Before his injury, Darvish was one of the elite pitchers in Major League Baseball. He has a fastball in the mid-90s and a dazzling array of breaking ball and offspeed pitches.
While Darvish is not expected to be ready to start the MLB season, he could take the mound for the Texas Rangers by May 2016. When he returns, he’ll join Cole Hamels, Colby Lewis, Derrick Holland, and Martin Perez in the rotation. Most expect him to be the co-ace of the rotation, alongside Cole Hamels. Whether he’ll be able to regain his previous form in his first season back from Tommy John surgery is another matter.
Darvish’s Texas Rangers Career
Yu Darvish signed with the Rangers in 2012 after an impressive career in the Nippon Baseball League, Japan’s major league. Darvish made 83 starts for the Texas Rangers from 2012 to 2014. In those 83 starts, Darvish amassed a 39-25 record and a 3.27 ERA. Yu Darvish was near the top of the league in strikeouts, with 680 strikeouts and 218 walks in 545 innings pitched.
Sho Darvish’s Criminal Career
Sho Darvish’s illegal gambling operation handled about $150,000 in bets. That is small time action by the standards of illegal gaming operations in the United States, which handle tens of millions of dollars of action per year. Japan has a strict ban on most forms of gambling, except for pachinko parlors, a lottery, and limited horse racing. The limited amount of money being wagered made it common sense that Yu Darvish would not be involved. A single game check for the star pitcher was worth twice the amount of the turnover on the illegal gaming ring.
Major League Baseball is a concerned about any possible connection between one of its players and illegal gambling. Of all the major North American sports, MLB is the one plagued with the biggest gambling scandals. Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson have been banned for life by the MLB Commissioner for their role in illegal gambling. Thus, a connection between brothers was certain to be investigated.
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