02/19/09 1:06 PM EST
Prospect sorry for withholding identity
Shortstop's real name is Lugo and he understated his age
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Team president Stan Kasten confirmed on Wednesday that in addition to having been dishonest about his name, Lugo is 23 years old instead of 19. In their 2008 media guide, the Nationals listed him as being born on Sept. 21, 1989.
"I spoke to him for the first time [since the story broke]," said King, who also represents shortstop Cristian Guzman. "He was very contrite. You could hear the relief in his voice as well. I could hear by the tone of his voice that he was remorseful."
King was not Lugo's agent when Lugo received a $1.4 million signing bonus from Washington on July 2, 2006. The negotiations were handled by Basilio Vizcaino, who helps prepare young players in hopes that they will eventually sign big Major League deals and reward him with a percentage of their signing bonus.
King didn't become Lugo's representative until the following year, when the two met in the Dominican Republic. King believed that Lugo was who he said he was.
"I was absolutely devastated," King said. "I had no inkling or idea other than who he said he was. I didn't give it a second thought."
For now, King is not planning to drop Lugo as a client. He wants to help Lugo get through his problems.
"To any degree I could help him, as well as the Nationals, I will do that," King said.
Lugo's future with the Nationals is up in the air. He is scheduled to report to camp on March 13 and participate in the full-squad workouts two days later. Lugo has secured a new passport and is close to receiving his work visa.
Asked if Lugo would be in camp, King declined to answer the question, saying that the Nationals and Major League Baseball's department of investigations are still looking into the situation. But he said Lugo has a passion for the game and wants to show that Washington made the right decision in signing him.
"Baseball is his life. He wants an opportunity to play," King said.
This past season, Lugo played for the Gulf Coast Nationals and hit .342 with 33 RBIs and a .431 on-base percentage in 181 at-bats. Baseball America listed him as the 10th best prospect in Washington's Minor League organization.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.