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Giants pitcher Takagi admits to lying during gambling probe

Kyodo

Yomiuri Giants reliever Kyosuke Takagi confessed on Wednesday to betting on baseball and admitted that he lied during the team’s latest investigation.

“I’ve betrayed all the people associated with me since I started playing baseball in elementary school. I’m really sorry,” Takagi said at a press conference, a day after he told the club he had bet on baseball in 2014.

The Giants conducted an investigation last autumn after learning on Oct. 5 that pitcher Satoshi Fukuda had been involved in betting on baseball. The involvement of fellow pitchers Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto was revealed later that month, with all three receiving indefinite suspensions in November.

None of the four pitchers were found to have been involved in match-fixing or betting on games in which they actually played.

The Giants questioned every person within the club about gambling, but found no further connections — until they were contacted by weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun on Feb. 29 about Takagi’s gambling.

The left-hander, who has pitched in 139 games over the past four seasons, denied his involvement in the subsequent probe as he had agreed with Kasahara’s gambling partner in the same betting scheme to say he was only lending his name to Kasahara.

“I’ve always had an anxious feeling, but then there was talk about teaming up to lie and say that I was only lending my name,” he said.

Takagi said he tried to cut ties with the person during spring camp but kept getting called, and eventually went on to fabricate his story.

“I lied at the investigation but the probing continued and that got to me mentally. I knew the time would come and I decided to tell the truth after speaking to my wife and parents.

“The person kept on telling me to continue lying, but I could no longer trouble my team and decided to tell the truth here.”

The Giants on Tuesday announced that team chairman Tsunekazu Momoi and supreme adviser Tsuneo Watanabe would step down to accept responsibility. Team owner Kojiro Shiraishi will be also replaced as fallout from the scandal widens.

Yomiuri will file charges with the NPB commissioner about Takagi, as stipulated in the organization’s charter, on Thursday.

Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki on Wednesday demanded the Yomiuri Giants crack down on its players.

“It’s extremely regrettable. I’ve ordered the Giants to carry out as rigid and thorough an investigation as is possible,” Kumazaki said. “An investigation committee will be summoned as soon as the charges are brought.”

The Tokyo police will be voluntarily questioning Takagi to confirm on the facts, a police source said.

  • Dave Barton

    It’s no different whether you are Pete Rose or a star pitcher on the Tokyo Giants, the rules are clear NO GAMBLING. You have to pay the price. Too often public apologizes are excepted and forgiveness wipes the slate clean. Pro athletes must be held to a higher standard and a simple bow and apology is not enough. The punishment needs to be severe and clear. If you do it you forfeit the privilege of being a professional ball player.