Tejada admits he lied about age

PHILADELPHIA (TICKER) Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada has made a confession - not about his alleged steroid use but about his age.

Tejada admitted to Astros general manager Ed Wade on Thursday that he is actually 33 - two years older than he is listed in the team’s media guide.

Tejada said he wanted to correct information he gave to the Oakland Athletics when he signed with them in 1993. Tejada, who grew up in a poverty-stricken town in the Dominican Republic, revealed that a youth coach encouraged him to say he was 17.

“I’m a poor kid that wanted to sign,” said Tejada to the Houston Chronicle. “I’m feeling free now. It’s something that I had on my mind.”

Tejada was signed out of the Dominican Republic by Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, who Tejada said played no part in the deception.

Wade said Tejada’s green card and driver’s license show his birthday to be May 25, 1974. In the Astros’ media guide, his birth date is listed as May 25, 1976.

“The thing is, I didn’t want Houston to find out from someone else,” Tejada said. “I was feeling like I had something to say in the last three days. That’s why I waited until today to do it.”

Tejada, however, is facing a bigger issue than fibbing about his age. He is under federal investigation for allegedly lying to government authorities regarding steroid use.

The Astros acquired Tejada in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles on December 12 - one day before his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

According to the report, Tejada purchased multiple drugs - including steroids and human growth hormone - from teammate Adam Piatt while with the Athletics during the 2003 season.

The report also included copies of checks Tejada wrote to Piatt to pay for the performance-enhancers.

In addition to being named in the Mitchell Report, Tejada was placed under investigation by the FBI on January 17 for allegedly lying during an August 2005 interview looking into the perjury case of Rafael Palmeiro, his former teammate with the Orioles.

The 2002 American League MVP with the Athletics, Tejada told Congress that he never personally used or gave Palmeiro performance-enhancing drugs while the two were teammates on the Orioles.

Palmeiro emphatically denied using steroids in March 2005, when a congressional committee held a hearing to examine baseball’s steroids controversy.

But Palmeiro was suspended later that year after testing positive for a steroid, a substance the former Orioles first baseman claimed was a result of a vitamin B-12 injection given to him by Tejada.

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Updated Thursday, Apr 17, 2008