Tommy Lasorda said on Monday he's as surprised as anyone about the recent revelations that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez once used performance-enhancing drugs.
Lasorda, the Hall of Fame Dodgers manager and consultant to the club, is also Major League Baseball's ambassador to the World Baseball Classic, and as such was in Miami on Monday to promote the nearly three-week tournament that runs March 5-23.
The second round of the Classic is slated for Dolphin Stadium on March 14-19.
"I never thought about him ever taking steroids," said Lasorda, who once hoped the Dodgers might sign A-Rod when he was a high school player in the Miami area. "So when [the news came out], that just shocked me. Shocked me. I didn't think he would do that."
Sports Illustrated broke the story on Feb. 7 that Rodriguez was on a list of 104 Major League players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during anonymous survey testing in 2003. Days later, Rodriguez admitted he had taken the drugs as a member of the Rangers from 2001-03, following that up with a news conference at the Yankees' Tampa, Fla., training camp this past week.
"If his name is out, then everybody's name should be out," said Lasorda, who added that any new name released off the list would not surprise him.
"Not after [Rodriguez], no," Lasorda said.
Lasorda is on a tour of Classic venues. The first round will open next month in Tokyo, Toronto, Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, moving on to the second round in Miami and San Diego and the semifinals and finals March 21-23 at Lasorda's own Dodger Stadium.
But everywhere he goes, Lasorda says people want to talk about A-Rod.
"Sure, it changes my perception of him as a person and what he did, absolutely," said Lasorda, who's entering his 60th year in the Dodgers' organization. "And I feel so bad about that. The guy, he was always somebody special. We established that relationship. I just had so much respect, so much really good feeling about him. I never thought that he would have done it."
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.