SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before this past offseason, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado spent the previous two offseasons training with Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.
Machado – the Orioles’ 20-year-old wunderkind third baseman – has often been compared to Rodriguez. They were both highly touted prospects coming out of Miami, catapulting through the minors as power-hitting shortstops.
When the Orioles and Yankees faced each other in the American League Division Series last October, the headlines of the New York papers trumpeted Machado as Rodriguez's protege.
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So Machado said he was surprised when he heard about the Miami New Times report that claimed Rodriguez was one of several major leaguers who received performance-enhancing drugs from a Miami-area anti-aging clinic named Biogenesis.
“When I saw it, I was thinking, ‘Wow, is this really going on right now?'” Machado said Friday. “That was my first reaction about it, but after that it was just another story. I really didn’t put it to mind. I was really focused on getting ready for the season and getting ready for today and getting ready for a good spring training.”
Machado said he hasn’t seen Rodriguez – who is recovering from offseason hip surgery – since Game 5 of the American League Division Series and hasn’t “really kept in touch with him in the offseason too much.” Machado also said he’s never heard of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic, which was located in Coral Gables, near the University of Miami. Former UM players -- Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Orioles infielder Danny Valencia -- were linked to the clinic in a separate report.
“The guys who I work out with, we were just ‘Wow' because we didn’t know about any of this going on,” Machado said. “We have our own little group and we work out in the football section [at the University of Miami]. … It’s our own little group and we’re kind of solitary from everybody. When we heard, we were just like, ‘What’s going on?’”
Rodriguez previously admittedly that he used performance-enhancing drugs, but said he only used them from 2001 to 2003 when he played for the Texas Rangers and hasn't used them since.