TEMPE, Ariz. – Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero said Friday he is a year older than his listed birth date, joining hundreds of players from the Dominican Republic who faked their ages when signing their first contracts with major-league teams.
Guerrero's admission – initially unintentional – came in response to a question about his offseason knee surgery. Manager Mike Scioscia had said the surgery could have the effect of "maybe turning back the clock a couple years" for Guerrero.
Relayed that quote, the affable Guerrero smiled and responded through a translator, "I feel good. I can't say [like] 25, because, you know, I'm 34. But I feel a lot better. That's where I'm at right now."
The Angels' media guide, among other baseball references, list Guerrero's birth date as Feb. 9, 1976, which would make him 33.
Guerrero had left the ballpark by the time the inconsistency was discovered. Reached by an Angels executive, Guerrero admitted he was born on the same date in 1975, making him 34. The club said it was aware of Guerrero's actual birth date and after Friday's development a team official said this year's media guide would reflect the correct date.
The revelation comes a few weeks after Washington Nationals prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez was discovered to be four years older than he'd claimed when he signed in 2006. He'd also used a false name.
Guerrero was signed by the Montreal Expos in March 1993, when he was thought to be 17, by scouts Fred Ferreira and Arturo DeFreites.
Bartolo Colon, Rafael Furcal, Rey Ordonez, Neifi Perez and Ramon Ortiz are among other players discovered to be older than their given birth dates, a common practice in the Dominican Republic, where to be younger is to be viewed as a better prospect.