Yomiuri Giants pitcher Satoshi Fukuda banned for betting on baseball

TOKYO -- A pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants, Japan's most popular baseball team, has been suspended for betting on games, including those involving his own team.

Satoshi Fukuda bet on 10 Nippon Professional Baseball games and 10 major league games in an attempt to win back money he lost gambling on high school baseball games in August.

The NPB games included three or four involving Yomiuri. In all, Fukuda is said to have lost more than $8,000.

The 32-year-old pitcher did not appear for the top team this season, so there is no suspicion that he fixed games, but gambling is a violation of NPB's charter.

In light of the revelations, team president Hiroshi Kubo on Tuesday launched an investigation involving all players and staff.

The Giants also have suspended pitcher Shoki Kasahara, who introduced Fukuda to an employee at a tax accounting firm who enticed him to bet on games.

The suspensions come as the Giants are preparing for their first game of the postseason on Saturday.

Owner Kojiro Shiraishi met with the team Tuesday, calling the situation "disgraceful and extremely disappointing."