Reds' Rodriguez Clears MLB Investigation

Yorman Rodriguez is who he claims to be.

Major League Baseball investigators completed a lengthy investigation into Rodriguez, a Venezuelan center fielder who signed with the Reds for $2.5 million in 2008, and concluded that his age and identity are correct, contrary to rumors swirling around Latin American baseball circles.

"There was an extensive investigation into these circumstances," said Sandy Alderson, MLB's new chief official in Latin America. "At this time based on that investigation, we believe he is who he says he is. He is the age that he claims to be."

Rodriguez, 17, signed with the Reds when he turned 16 on Aug. 15, 2008. His bonus is still the record for a Venezuelan amateur and the fifth-largest ever for a Latin American amateur free agent, excluding Cuban defectors.

"It's an investigation that's been completed," Alderson said. "Some investigations are never closed, but I think those that have been involved in this investigation do believe that this is the correct identity and age."

Rodriguez has not had any visa issues and is currently at the Reds' complex in Goodyear, Ariz., for extended spring training, Reds Latin American scouting director Tony Arias said.

"We definitely believe he is who he says he is," Arias said. "In his case, I believe he is who he says he is just because I have more background on him than any player I've ever signed in Latin America."

A 6-foot-3, 180-pound center fielder, Rodriguez hit .236/.288/.337 in 68 games last year between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and the Rookie-level Pioneer League in his professional debut. He ranked as the Reds' No. 6 prospect coming into the 2010 season.