Jarred Cosart and the Marlins aren’t saying much regarding Major League Baseball’s probe into the gambling allegations the 24-year-old right-hander was roped into late Tuesday night.
But here’s what they did say Thursday: Cosart won’t make his next scheduled start Friday because of a blister on his middle finger, not the investigation. And as for all that gambling stuff on Twitter, MLB is handling it and Cosart is cooperating.
“Obviously I was caught off guard by the whole situation, and all I’m really saying to everyone is I’m following MLB protocol and talking with MLB security and they’re taking care of the rest,” Cosart said in a brief meeting with reporters shortly before joining teammates for pregame stretch on the backfields at Roger Dean Stadium.
“So that’s where I stand right now and that’s it,” he said.
Cosart, who was acquired by the Marlins at the trade deadline last July, deleted his official Twitter account late Tuesday night after screenshots of purported direct messages from himself to a gambling expert were leaked by a third party using the same social media outlet.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed Wednesday morning the commissioner’s office was investigating the matter.
It’s unclear whether the allegations involving Cosart revolve around baseball or betting on another sport.
Players are allowed to legally gamble on sports other than baseball. But if it is proven that he was betting on baseball, there are stiff penalties. If he bet on a baseball game he wasn’t involved in, it’s an automatic one-year suspension. If he bet on a game he was involved in, he’s banned for life.
Cosart’s trouble began late Tuesday night when an alleged gambling expert on Twitter who goes by the handle @GhostFadeKillah tweeted out screenshots of direct messages between Cosart and a friend.
During the alleged conversation, Cosart says: “I bet LARGE. Shhhh lol lookin for some help anywhere I can … Saw a retweet on your under play and hammered it.”
Two other Twitter accounts have since surfaced claiming to be Cosart, but he said Thursday morning neither belong to him.
“Anything that happened after [the official account] is not me,” Cosart said. “My other one’s completely deleted and being looked at by MLB, and all the new ones ‒ that’s not me.”
As for the blister, manager Mike Redmond said Cosart developed it on his middle finger after his last start Sunday. Redmond said Cosart was going to play catch Thursday before being re-evaluated.
Left-hander Brad Hand, thought to be potential trade bait, will make Friday night’s start in Kissimmee against the Astros in Cosart’s place. A source said it’s likely a safe bet now Hand, linked as a potential target of the Texas Rangers, won’t be going anywhere. The Marlins need to keep him as insurance.
“It’s hard to say you’re going to be able to get through the entire season with five guys,” Redmond said. “That’s why you have [more] and bring in guys, and that’s why you stretch out guys in spring training in case something pops up. We have [David] Phelps that can [start] too. It’s nice to have those guys extended out so they can throw more than a couple of innings.”
Mike Hill, Marlins President of Baseball Operations, said MLB has given the Marlins no timeline as far as when they think the probe will end.
Asked if he’s worried this could carry into Opening Day, which is less than two weeks away, Hill responded: “We’re not going to speculate on anything. No hypotheticals. We’ll let it all play out, and when it comes to a conclusion, we’ll know what we need to do, if anything.”
How did the Marlins become aware of the situation involving Cosart?
“We all saw the article online,” Hill said.
Redmond said he has spoken with Cosart regarding the allegations and added: “It’s better to let these things play out and find out more information, and when we do that we’ll have a comment.”
Asked if he has seen a change in the pitcher, who has struggled this spring (0-2, 8.49 ERA), Redmond said: “No. He’s fine.”
Have the Marlins asked Cosart if he gambled on baseball?
Said Hill: “We’re going to let the situation play out and when we get all the information, we’ll give you further comment.”