MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hoping for ‘brief’ Shohei Ohtani playing investigation as new season begins

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is hoping the league’s investigation into Shohei Ohtani and former Los Angeles Dodgers interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is swift. 

As MLB kicked off the 2024 marketing campaign, the largest story line heading into the season is final week’s bombshell. Ohtani alleges Mizuhara stole $4.5 million from him to cowl playing money owed. 

Ohtani issued an announcement this week saying he has by no means wager on baseball or every other sport and had no clue what Mizuhara was doing till the workforce’s Seoul Collection exhibition video games towards the San Diego Padres in South Korea final week. 

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Shohei Ohtani in the dugout

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani earlier than a spring coaching recreation towards the Los Angeles Angels in Los Angeles March 24, 2024. (AP Picture/Ashley Landis)

“Given the way in which the story unfolded, it’s vital by way of assuring our followers in regards to the integrity of the sport that we confirm the issues that Mr. Ohtani has mentioned, and it’s actually that easy,” Manfred advised MLB Community. 

MLB and the IRS opened their very own investigations into this matter. The IRS confirmed Mizuhara and the alleged unlawful bookmaker he had money owed with, Orange County, California, native Mathew Bowyer, are each below prison investigation. 

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“It’s actually tough for the federal authorities to cooperate with us absolutely once they have their very own ongoing investigation, so I feel that is one the place we’ll should proceed on our personal,” Manfred mentioned. 

“We by no means have the form of authority that regulation enforcement individuals have, however we handle to get these investigations completed and discover the details, and I’m positive we are going to on this one.”

Ohtani and interpreter at conference

Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara of the Los Angeles Dodgers throughout a press convention at Dodger Stadium Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (Rob Leiter/MLB Pictures by way of Getty Photographs)

Manfred mentioned he hopes the investigation will probably be “brief.”

Legalized sports activities playing has been a controversial subject, particularly since skilled leagues like MLB have partnered with sportsbooks to promote it. 

“Sports activities betting goes to go on in america, whether or not now we have a relationship with any specific firm, any playing enterprise, or not,” Manfred defined. “I don’t suppose it’s uncommon to have a algorithm that apply to followers and executives and personal residents on the market on the one hand and gamers and individuals who have the flexibility to have an effect on the result of the play on the sector.”

Mizuhara initially mentioned Ohtani was serving to a pal repay his money owed, however Ohtani’s attorneys shortly recanted that assertion. As a substitute, they mentioned Ohtani was the sufferer of a “large theft.”

Rob Manfred speaks to the media

Main League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media previous to a recreation between the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at American Household Subject Could 25, 2023, in Milwaukee. (Stacy Revere/Getty Photographs)

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Ohtani stays on the Dodgers’ roster to begin the season whereas the investigations are ongoing. He went 2-for-3 with a stroll and a run scored within the workforce’s opening day win over the St. Louis Cardinals

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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