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MLB disciplines umpire Pat Hoberg for violating gambling rules

Jeff Passan, ESPN

Major League Baseball announced Friday that it has disciplined umpire Pat Hoberg for violating the league’s gambling rules, 10 days after the league levied a lifetime ban on a player for gambling and suspended four others for one year.

Hoberg is appealing the discipline and, according to ESPN sources, has denied betting on baseball. The exact nature of the discipline is unknown, but Hoberg has not umpired a game this season. MLB, in a statement, did not indicate whether its investigation into Hoberg showed that he bet on baseball.

“During this year’s Spring Training, Major League Baseball commenced an investigation regarding a potential violation of MLB’s sports betting policies by Umpire Pat Hoberg. Mr. Hoberg was removed from the field during the pendency of that investigation,” the league said in its statement. “While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way, MLB determined that discipline was warranted. Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal that determination. Therefore, we cannot comment further until the appeal process is concluded.”

Messages left for Hoberg by ESPN earlier this week went unreturned.

“I am appealing Major League Baseball’s determination that I should be disciplined for violating the sports betting policies. While that appeal is pending, it would not be appropriate to discuss the case,” Hoberg said in a statement. “That said, I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me. I look forward to the appeal process, and I am grateful that the Major League Baseball Umpires Association is supporting me in the appeal.”

If he were found to have bet on baseball, Hoberg would be in violation of MLB’s Rule 21, which punishes those who gambled on games in which they were involved with a lifetime ban and games in which they weren’t with a yearlong suspension.

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