Rosario’s Identity Now In Doubt

By Ed Price

May 14, 2004

PHOENIX–A week after one of the Diamondbacks’ top pitching prospects was the subject of an ESPN expose regarding his signing, now the very identity of Adriano Rosario is in doubt.

Rosario will return to the Dominican Republic “to address his immigration status,” the team said in a statement. General manager Joe Garagiola Jr. declined further comment and agent Scott Boras did not return a phone call.

A person with knowledge of the situation said Rosario was being asked to prove his name and/or age to authorities in the Dominican Republic. A crackdown by U.S. immigration officials since 9/11 has found many Dominican players who have used false names or lied about their birthdates.

Rosario, a righthander who has a fastball near 100 mph, has a listed birthdate of May 16, 1985, which would make him 19 on Sunday. Last week, Boras said that birthdate was accurate.

ESPN uncovered improprieties surrounding Arizona’s signing of Rosario. Ivan Noboa -- a buscone, or independent developer of talent, who brokered the signing -- took $100,000 from the Diamondbacks as part of the deal but did not tell Rosario and took an additional $100,000 fee out of Rosario’s $400,000 signing bonus. The Dodgers also say they made a higher offer than Arizona.

Ivan Noboa is the brother of Junior Noboa, Arizona’s director of Latin American operations. The Diamondbacks deny any wrongdoing by Junior Noboa and say he had no knowledge of his brother’s actions.

So far it appears Major League Baseball is not investigating that matter.

Rosario won his last start Wednesday for Double-A El Paso, where he was 3-3, 5.44 in seven starts. He jumped to El Paso after going 9-5, 2.86 at low Class A South Bend last year.

Ed Price covers the Diamondbacks for the East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.).