D-Backs prospect used false name

Updated: May 18, 2004, 2:25 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Baseball is checking whether a Diamondbacks pitching prospect used his nephew's identity to sign with the team, making him appear three years younger, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Birth records show that Adriano Rosario's real name is Ramon Antonio Pena Paulino, and that he was born Jan. 9, 1982, making him 22. The real Rosario, who is Pena's nephew, turned 19 Sunday, according to the documents.

Pena, a hard-throwing right-hander, allegedly used his nephew's birth certificate to gain a $400,000 signing bonus with Arizona in 2002, the documents show. He signed as a free agent in June 2002.

Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office, said that there is an ongoing investigation.

"We are aware that there are reports to that effect, and we are looking into those reports and have communicated with the Diamondbacks about that," Alderson said Sunday.

The Diamondbacks have denied any wrongdoing.

Scott Boras, the player's current agent, confirmed to ESPN.com Monday that his client's name is not really Adriano Rosario.

Some baseball prospects have tried to hide their ages in an attempt to make themselves more attractive to scouts. Dominican-born Alfonso Soriano, an All-Star second baseman, told the Yankees last summer that he was two years older than the team thought.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, players who are not U.S. citizens have been required to present birth certificates to get their visas. Dozens of Dominican ballplayers have been found to have false identities or birth dates.

Pena is 3-3 with a 5.44 ERA in seven outings this season at Double-A El Paso. Last season, he went 9-5 with a 2.86 ERA at Class-A South Bend.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press