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MLB umpire Hoberg appealing discipline following sports betting investigation

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NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball plans to discipline umpire Pat Hoberg following an investigation into a potential violation of sports gambling policies.

In a statement Friday, the commissioner's office said Hoberg has decided to appeal the penalty. MLB did not disclose the nature of the violation or the extent of the punishment.

“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,” the statement said.

MLB said it began investigating Hoberg during spring training this year and he was removed from the field while the probe was ongoing.

“I am appealing Major League Baseball’s determination that I should be disciplined for violating the sports betting policies.” Hoberg said in a statement issued by the union. “While that appeal is pending, it would not be appropriate to discuss the case. 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.”

The 37-year-old Hoberg umpired his first big league game in 2014 and was added to the full-time staff in 2017. He received a perfect grade on calling balls and strikes when he worked home plate in Game 2 of the 2022 World Series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.

His other postseason assignments have included the 2018 AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium, a 2019 NL Division Series, a 2020 NL Wild Card Series, the 2020 NL Championship Series, a 2021 NL Division Series and a 2022 AL Division Series. He also handled replay duties during the 2021 World Series.

Hoberg umpired in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and was chosen to work the plate for the “Field of Dreams Game” between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees in August 2021. That was the first major league game played in Iowa, where he grew up.

Before becoming a big league ump, Hoberg spent time in the minors working in the Pacific Coast League, the Texas League and the Florida State League, among other stops.

“The Major League Baseball Umpires Association was made aware in spring training that Umpire Pat Hoberg was being investigated for potential violation of Major League Baseball’s sports betting policies,” the union said in a statement. “We have been working with Pat since then. We are now appealing the discipline issued by Major League Baseball. Because the appeal process is ongoing, the union cannot discuss the matter. We will have no further comment until the appeal process is complete.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb