They'll visit Dominican Republic this week

Updated: June 16, 2004, 9:31 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Two top U.S. major league baseball officials will visit the Dominican Republic this week to investigate the case of an Arizona Diamondbacks prospect who allegedly used his nephew's identity to appear younger, an official said Tuesday.

Lou Melendez, vice president of international baseball operations, and Ed Burns, vice president of baseball operations and administration, will carry out their investigation starting Thursday, said Rafael Perez, administrator of major league baseball's office in Santo Domingo.

Finders keepers
Pujols. Tejada. Sosa. Vlad. Pedro. The Dominican Republic supplies more talent to Major League Baseball than any foreign country. But what's at the other end of the pipeline? An ESPN multimedia report finds desperation, exploitation, even death.
  • The Dominican 'Gold Crush'
  • En Español
  • The visit is to last three days, he said.

    Birth records obtained by The Associated Press show that the real name of pitching prospect Adriano Rosario 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 last month, 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 suggest.

    The pitcher's agent, Scott Boras, has declined to comment on the matter.

    Pena had a 3-3 record and 5.44 ERA in seven outings this season on Arizona's double-A team.

    Pena has been in the Dominican Republic since May 14 dealing with "immigration issues," the Diamondbacks said in a statement.

    Officials say Ivan Noboa, a local scout who found the pitcher, was paid $100,000 for bringing the player to the Arizona academy and another $100,000 for his share of the signing bonus.

    Noboa is brother of Junior Noboa, director of operations for the Diamondbacks in Latin America.

    "The kid was signed without violating any established provision. There wasn't any irregular handling of the process," Junior Noboa said. "If anyone lied in this process, it certainly wasn't Arizona."

    After the signing, in June 2003, new rules were put in place that bar such fees to local scouts, Perez said.


    Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

    ALSO SEE