<
>

Club says it knew Soriano was 28

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alfonso Soriano is 28 years old, not 26,
and that didn't come as a surprise to the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers knew Soriano was older than had been reported in the
past when they acquired the two-time All-Star second baseman from
the New York Yankees in the trade for AL MVP Alex Rodriguez this
week.

"The Yankees were up front. Our people were fully aware of how
old he was," Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin said Wednesday.
"Without a question, that was the information we had."

The Yankees' 2003 media guide and other baseball information
list Soriano's birth date as Jan. 7, 1978. He was actually born two
years earlier.

Soriano told Yankees officials about the age discrepancy last
summer. General manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News
that the change was going to be reflected in this year's media
guide before the trade.

In news releases this week confirming the trade of Rodriguez to
the Yankees, Texas listed Soriano's correct age of 28.

Elkin said Soriano's birth date was initially listed wrong when
he played in Japan. That information carried over when the
Dominican-born infielder signed a contract with the New York
Yankees.

Soriano got a multi-entrance visa to enter the United States
from Japan after signing his Yankee contract. The type of visa he
had didn't come under the same scrutiny as others after the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

When U.S. immigration officials reviewed visas after Sept. 11,
it was discovered that several professional baseball players from
outside the United States were actually older than listed on their
records.